In the early 1990s, the team of researchers around Dr. Thomas Stiefel, CEO of the pharmaceutical company biosyn, discovered that a unique sea creature living in the cold waters off Southern California’s Pacific coastline can provide a substance for use in cancer therapy. Keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH), an immunostimulating glycoprotein, is obtained by a non-lethal method from the hemolymph of the keyhole limpet (Megathura crenulata).
Two decades and several million euros of investment later, patients with superficial bladder cancer now benefit from the fruits of that transatlantic endeavor. IMMUCOTHEL®, biosyn’s brand of KHL, is a medicinal product approved for the prevention of recurrence of superficial bladder cancer in many countries around the world.
Our interviewer talked to the driving force behind KLH development and marketing, Dr. Stiefel in Carlsbad, California, about the importance of keyhole limpets for the development of high-quality pharmaceuticals for cancer therapy and immunology. We wanted to find out what the future holds for this multifaceted recombinant protein now that its gene has been sequenced. Indeed, there are pipeline potentials in new-generation vaccines for various antigens where KLH is used as a carrier molecule like in the biosyn-branded product VACMUN®.
To learn more about keyhole limpet hemocyanin download the newly released IMMUCOTHEL® folder: