Apitope, the drug discovery and development company focused on treating the underlying cause of autoimmune diseases, today announces that the consortium, led by Apitope, which includes GSK Vaccines, Quintiles and KWS Biotest Limited, has been awarded prestigious Framework Programme 7 (FP7) Health Innovation funding by the European Commission to develop its Graves' disease therapeutic vaccine, including a Phase I first-in-man study in Graves' disease patients.
Graves' disease is an immune system disorder that eventually results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). While a number of disorders may result in hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease is the most common cause affecting 2% of the female population. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism can include increased heart rate, muscle weakness, disturbed sleep, and irritability. Patients may also develop bulging eyes (proptosis). The disease affects multiple systems of the body, including the skin, heart, circulation and nervous system.
Apitope's antigen-specific disease modifying peptide therapy uses epitopes designed to shut down the abnormal immune responses to the causative agent in a highly selective manner, re-instating the normal immune balance, thereby avoiding global immune suppression. As a result, the peptides taken into clinical evaluation by Apitope offer the potential to have limited side effects and a good probability of efficacy.