What   We   Do
The human immune system has evolved to respond to microbes that threaten our lives. Like firefighters responding to a forest fire, immune cells expand to great numbers, become activated, and ready the tools for the job, waiting to be directed where to go.
Some microbes provoke greater and more durable responses than others, so much so that we evolved specific immune cells to profoundly and durably respond to them.
Laguna’s QUAIL platform based on such microbes is a sheep in wolf’s clothing – reversing the well-known parable, QUAIL has been modified to be harmless, incapable of causing infection or sickness, while still looking sufficiently alarming to our immune cells to provoke a large and durable response. The resulting expanded and activated immune cells can then be directed to attack tumors alone or in combination with other immunotherapies that provide tumor-specific targeting.
How   It   Works
Making   QUAIL   Safe
Our QUAIL platform is built upon LADD, a microbe that has been safely administered to hundreds of cancer patients. We further modified LADD based on our deep understanding of microbiology to render it incapable of growing within a person so that it has no way of causing infection or sickness. QUAIL can only enter immune cells whose function is to consume and contain it. Once inside those cells, it cannot spread to other cells or escape into the body. These changes make QUAIL over 2,000-fold safer than its wild-type cousin.
Activating   Immune   Cells
The immune system has evolved exquisite control mechanisms so that it is only active when needed. These control mechanisms require the proper alignment of multiple, very specific ‘keys’ in order to unleash a powerful, robust, and durable response. Cancer cells have the ability to disrupt those keys, which allows tumors to grow and avoid detection by the immune system. Some therapies can align a single key, which is simply not enough to overcome the disruption that enables tumor growth. QUAIL is the only known solution that can align every required key in exactly the correct order and orientation in order to profoundly and durably activate a range of immune cell subsets and overcome the disruption that allows cancer cells to grow.
Killing   Tumor   Cells
QUAIL-activated immune cells can kill some types of cancer completely on their own. These cells activated by QUAIL have been shown to kill leukemias, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, sarcomas, and neuroblastoma. The primary challenge has been that no prior therapies have generated as many active immune cells as QUAIL.