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Press Release
Study with CureVac’s RNAdjuvant® Technology Published in
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy, Demonstrates Equal
responsiveness of blood cells from Both Hepatocellular Carcinoma
(HCC) Patients and Healthy Subjects to the RNA-based adjuvant
For the first time, evidence suggests the same vaccine formulation
(RNAdjuvant®) may elicit similar potency in both cancer patients and
healthy subjects
RNAdjuvant® found to induce IFNgamma release from PBMCs; critical for
innate and adaptive immunity including Th1 type T-cell responses
TÜBINGEN, Germany, December 5, 2016 – CureVac AG today announced that a
study with its RNAdjuvant® technology was published in the peer-reviewed journal
Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. The study, titled “Immunological effects of a novel
RNA-based adjuvant in liver cancer patients,” by Circelli et al., demonstrated for the first
time ever that the company’s RNAdjuvant® to be used in a therapeutic cancer vaccine
formulation is equally effective on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from both
healthy and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. The data were collected in
connection with the HEPAVAC project, which is sponsored by the EU.
The study examined the effects of CureVac’s RNAdjuvant® technology on PBMCs obtained
from eight healthy volunteers and 17 HCC patients, using a multiparametric approach to
analyze network dynamics of early immune responses. Treatment with RNAdjuvant ®
elicited comparable effects on PBMCs of both HCC and healthy subjects, having
demonstrated up-regulation of several genes involved in innate and adaptive immunerelated pathways.
Luigi Buonaguro, head of the HEPAVAC project, said, “The comparable
immunomodulatory effects of RNAdjuvant® in HCC subjects and healthy subjects are
extremely relevant in the field of vaccinology, in general, and for the HEPAVAC project, in
specific. They strongly support the use of RNAdjuvant® in the HepaVac-101 vaccine
formulation and are promising for a significant enhancement of the immunogenicity of
the vaccine peptides in vivo. We are really excited about these results.”
Ulrike Gnad-Vogt, M.D., CMO of CureVac, stated, “We are extremely pleased about these
results and believe they strongly support the phase I/II trial in hepatocellular cancer
patients planned by the HEPAVAC consortium. We have previously shown that
RNAdjuvant is able to enhance virus neutralizing antibody responses against a licensed
rabies vaccine in healthy adults. We now hope to see an induction of potent T cell
responses in combination with the HepaVac-101 vaccine in patients with hepatocellular
cancer and to contribute to an improved outcome.
The article of Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy can be found here.
About Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy
Since its inception in 1976, Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy (CII) has reported
significant advances in the field of tumor immunology. The journal serves as a forum for
new concepts and advances in basic, translational and clinical cancer immunology and
immunotherapy. CII is keen to publish broad-ranging ideas and reviews, results which
extend or challenge established paradigms, as well as negative studies which fail to
reproduce experiments that support current paradigms, and papers that do succeed in
reproducing others’ results in different contexts.
About the HEPAVAC project
HEPAVAC aims to develop a highly innovative, novel cancer vaccine approach to address
the high unmet medical need of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. HCC is the
most common primary liver malignancy accounting for about 6% of all new cancer cases
diagnosed worldwide (nearly 750,000 new cases/year), and is the third and the fifth
leading cause of death from cancer globally in men and women, respectively. Given the
current lack of available effective treatments, the overall prognosis for patients with HCC
is poor with a dismal 5-year survival rate of approximately 5-6%, making the disease a
highly important and relevant target for the development of innovative and novel
therapies. In this framework, immunotherapeutic interventions, including cancer
vaccines, may represent a novel and effective therapeutic tool.
For more information, please visit
About CureVac AG
Founded in 2000 as a spin-off from the University of Tϋbingen in Germany, CureVac is a
technology leader in the development of drugs that are based on the molecule Messenger
RNA (mRNA). The company generated over more than 16 years a very advanced product
pipeline and IP portfolio.
The basic principle of CureVac's proprietary technology is the use of mRNA as a data
carrier to instruct the human body to produce its own proteins capable of fighting a wide
range of diseases. CureVac’s mRNA programs include novel mRNA-based cancer
immunotherapies and prophylactic vaccines against infectious diseases (RNActive ®),
molecular therapies designed to trigger the body's own production of therapeutic proteins
(RNArt®), a technology that enables the prolonged expression of functional antibodies
and antibody-like proteins from mRNA (RNAntibody®) and a novel, RNA-based adjuvant
therapy designed to enhance the immunogenicity of vaccines and proteins
Since its inception, CureVac has received approximately $360 million (€325 million) in
equity investments. CureVac has entered into various collaborations with multinational
corporations and organizations, including agreements with Boehringer Ingelheim, Sanofi
Pasteur, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and IAVI.
For more information, please visit
Media Contacts
Verena Lauterbach, Senior Manager Communications
CureVac AG, Tübingen, Germany
T: +49 7071 9883 1756
[email protected]
Andrew Mielach, Vice President
Tiberend Strategic Advisors, New York
T: +1 212 375 2694
[email protected]