Development of immunotherapy for bladder cancer using IMV’s drug delivery platform

Challenge: Bladder cancer is 5 th in frequency in Canada. Each year, approximately 80,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer and more than 20 % of them will die from the disease. The treatment of advanced bladder cancer has been revolutionized in the recent years by the impressive clinical success of immune checkpoint (IC)-based immunotherapy. Advanced bladder cancer has been shown to be particularly responsive to IC-based immunotherapy. However, still only a fraction of patients benefit from these immunotherapies and efforts must be made to increase the proportion of responding patients.

Solution: Tumors highly infiltrated by immune cells (referred to as inflamed or “hot” tumors) have in many cancer types been associated with a better response to IC-based immunotherapy. Strategies to make “cold” tumors “hot” or “hot” tumors even “hotter” are needed to improve tumor immunogenicity, increase anti-tumor immune response and response to IC-based immunotherapy. Inducing a strong T cell response against tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) using an effective vaccine formulation is among the preferred way to achieve this goal. The present project aims to develop and test in pre-clinical and clinical settings a bladder cancer T cell activation therapy targeting two important bladder TAAs, MAGE-A9 and survivin that are frequently expressed in bladder tumors and especially those with a poor outcome. The T cell activation therapy is based on the DPX delivery platform developed by IMV that was shown to be highly performant in inducing T cell responses against survivin in preclinical and clinical studies.

Expected achievements/Impact: The present project aims to provide a proof of principle that DPX-SURMAGE combining survivin and MAGE-A9 peptides can have immunological and anti-tumor activity in pre-clinical and clinical studies. This will, in the end, permit the development of a novel product in a new indication, that will hopefully lead to clinical benefits to the patients suffering from bladder cancer. If successful, the new product, DPX-SURMAGE, could also be tested in different patient populations such as lung and renal cancer patients where both antigens are frequently expressed in these tumors. Diversification of the targeted populations will provide additional benefits with limited added toxicity to patients with different type of cancers, while at the same time expanding the application of the DPX technology.






















































Principal Investigator:

Yves Fradet
CHU de Québec-
Université Laval


Alain Bergeron
CHU de Québec-
Université Laval

Stéphane Fiset
Marianne Stanford
Gabriela Rosu


Ongoing Project
$ 4,223,591 / 3 years
Supported by CQDM through:
• MEIAnd by co-founding partners:• IMV
• Fondation du CHU de Québec