Immunotherapy for Pancreatic Cancer: Peptidic Targeting of a Tumor-Specific Glycan

Life Sciences, Drug Discovery & Development, Biomarkers, Cell and Gene Therapy,
  • Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Explore this webinar on a peptide ligand, called molecular guidance system 5 (MGS5), targeting N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc)-Sialyl LewisA in cancer, enhancing early detection and advancing liposome-based immunotherapy for pancreatic cancer. Glycosylation is a post-translation modification that is commonly altered in cancer, playing fundamental roles in cell signaling, cell migration and invasion, immune modulation and metastasis. Neu5Ac-Sialyl LewisA (CA19-9), part of the Lewis blood antigen family, is a well-studied blood biomarker that is Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved for the detection of pancreatic cancer. However, its counterpart, N-glycolylneuraminic acid (Neu5Gc)-Sialyl LewisA, is under study in human malignancies due to the inactivation of the cytidine monophospho-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (CMAH) gene and the absence of Neu5Gc-Sialyl LewisA specific targeting molecules.


Utilizing a novel screening platform, a peptidic ligand (MGS5) was identified to selectively bind and rapidly internalize into cancer cells. Target identification and validation studies showed MGS5 to be highly specific for the Neu5Gc version of Sialyl LewisA. Utilizing MGS5 for detection, Neu5Gc-Sialyl LewisA was found to be significantly expressed in numerous cancer tissues, such as breast, liver and pancreas, with minimal staining observed across normal tissue types. Neu5Gc-Sialyl LewisA also demonstrated the ability to be used as an early detection biomarker for pancreatic cancer. Tissue samples of low-grade or high-grade pancreatic intraepithelial neoplasia (PanIN) lesions displayed a 2-fold increase in the binding of the MGS5 peptide compared to normal healthy pancreas.

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This webinar will discuss a liposome-based immunotherapy (“Targeted Antigen Loaded Liposomes” TALL) that consists of three modular components: 1) pegylated stealth phospholipid layer, 2) an encapsulated synthetic immunogenic MHC class I restricted peptide derived from the measles virus and 3) MGS5 on the external surface for tumor targeting. MGS5 binds to the surface of the cancer cells via Neu5Gc-Sialyl LewisA and is subsequently internalized allowing for the internalization of the liposome and the release of the encapsulated antigenic peptide. This in turn elicits a robust immune response. TALL, in combination with an anti-programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) inhibitor, results in a 10-fold reduction in tumor burden in mice bearing orthotopic breast and pancreatic tumors, compared to using anti-PD-1 alone.

Join this webinar to learn not only how MGS5 is a novel peptide for the detection of Neu5Gc- Sialyl LewisA, but it can also serve as a therapeutically relevant cancer targeting agent allowing for the delivery of therapeutics.


Shelby Knoche, SRI International

Shelby Knoche, Post-Doctoral Researcher, SRI International

Shelby Knoche is a Post-Doctoral Researcher at SRI with experience in oncology and immunology research. She obtained her PhD in Cancer Biology from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, where she studied immune modulation in pancreatic cancer. In 2022 she joined the SRI team, working on SRI’s FOX Three program, focusing on using highly specific cell-binding peptides for delivery of therapeutics and SRI’s TALL immunotherapy research project, delivering antigenic liposomes to treat cancer.

Message Presenter

Who Should Attend?

This webinar will appeal to biopharmaceutical researchers developing therapeutics and biomarkers for solid tumors, with relevant job titles, including:

  • Directors, Biotherapeutics
  • Research & Development Managers/Directors for Cancer Therapeutics
  • Research & Development Scientists
  • Research Oncologists
  • Pharmaceutical program development and management
  • Translational Researchers
  • Pharmaceutical business development

What You Will Learn

Attendees will gain insights into:

  • An intracellular delivery platform to internalize biotherapeutics to specific target cells
  • MGSs that can be identified for virtually any cell type
  • Neu5Gc-Sialyl LewisA expression on neoplastic tissues and its use as an early cancer detection biomarker
  • A novel immunotherapy to use in combination with checkpoint inhibitors

Xtalks Partner

SRI International

SRI International, a non-profit research institute founded in 1946 and headquartered in Menlo Park, California, creates world-changing solutions to make people safer, healthier, and more productive. SRI Biosciences, a division of SRI International, integrates basic biomedical research with drug and diagnostics discovery, and preclinical and clinical development. SRI Biosciences has advanced more than 175 drugs to clinical trials, and approximately 20 have reached the market. The division is focused on novel platforms and programs in a variety of therapeutic areas targeting Discovery through Preclinical development in high unmet medical need areas. SRI Biosciences collaborates with a broad range of partners from small and virtual biotechnology companies to top pharmaceutical companies and other leading industry partners. More information is available at

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