Therapeutic product candidates
Uveitis consists of a group of diseases characterized by significant sight-threatening intraocular inflammation primarily involving the uveal tract (iris, ciliary body, and choroid). About 50 % of uveitis incidences are caused by auto-immune mechanisms. Uveitis can affect one or both eyes and mainly occurs in the 20–50 year age group, although children can also suffer from the condition. In the USA, uveitis is responsible for 30,000 new cases of legal blindness annually and causes 2.8-10% of all cases of blindness.
Overall, auto-immune uveitis is a complex multifactorial disease in which there are genetic and non-genetic associations. The cause of uveitis is often unknown, but may be linked to an injury to the eye, previous eye surgery or a variety of illnesses and concomitant auto-immune diseases such as an inflammatory condition, arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, multiple sclerosis, psoriasis or inflammatory bowel disease.
It has been shown that regulatory T cell (T reg) numbers are decreased in patients with active uveitis but return to normal in those patients that achieve remission. This is in line with the conclusion that successful therapy is associated with a restoration of Treg number and function, supportive of Apitope’s approach to generate antigen specific T cell tolerance through the induction of Treg cells.
Apitope’s immunotherapy is intended to reduce the reliance on the current therapies and their litany of side effects by contributing to a potentially better safety profile with less toxic adverse events upon removal of the immune suppression while possibly providing a long-term remission through disease modification.