AGGREGON™ technology for the manufacture of autologous cancer vaccines, including Oncoquest™ products, is based on the assemblage of three components: patient-specific tumor cell lysate with its antigens, immune stimulator(s) such as interleukin-2 (IL-2) and synthetic lipid nano-vesicles (Boni et al., 2001; see PUBLICATIONS).
1. Tumor cell antigens are obtained from the malignant cells of the patient to be vaccinated:
a. For solid cancers, including lymphoma, tumor material is represented by a small portion of the surgically removed tumor.
b. For leukemias, the tumor cells are removed from the blood with the help of an automated machine (leukapheresis).
2. The synthetic lipid is processed into unilamellar nano-vesicles (single membrane, very small vesicles).
3. The human IL-2 is made by recombinant DNA technology.
These three components are assembled (aggregated) under precisely controlled conditions into multilamellar coalescent vesicles that ultimately form the AGGREGON™ units, each having an onion-like shape and structure. The tumor cell antigens are trapped in and between the layers along with the IL-2 molecules. IL-2 is also abundantly present on the surface of the AGGREGON™ and available to interact with IL-2 receptors on T cells, NK cells and other cells. AGGREGON™ are the size of bacteria, 50-500 times bigger than the original unilamellar nano-vesicles. The vaccine contains billions of AGGREGON™ particles in each milliliter. After being thoroughly examined for quality (identity, composition, content, potency, sterility), the vaccine is injected subcutaneously at intervals into the same patient from whom the tumor was removed to prepare a personalized vaccine ("autologous vaccine").