Immune System

Technology :: ISS

Immunostimulatory sequences (ISS)

Our proprietary technology platform includes immunostimulatory sequences (ISS), which are short DNA sequences that enhance the ability of the immune system to fight disease and control chronic inflammation. ISS activate the innate immune response by specifically targeting Toll-like Receptors (TLRs), which are found on a specialized subset of immune cells.

ISS work by reprogramming the immune responses that cause disease rather than by simply treating the symptoms. By specifically targeting TLR9, ISS selectively redirect the response of T cells involved in the specific disease and do not activate the entire immune system or cause an autoimmune response. When linked to or combined with antigens, ISS help generate memory Th1 cells that can reprogram the immune system to induce long-lasting therapeutic effects.

ISS Mechanism of Action


Depending on the intended indication, ISS can be used in different ways to activate the innate immune response.

ISS Linked to or Combined with Antigens

For viral diseases, cancer and bacterial infections, ISS are linked to or combined with antigens to increase the visibility of the antigen and stimulate an immune response that will attack and destroy infected or abnormal cells. This treatment induces a highly specific Th1 immune response and generates memory T cells for long-term protection. This treatment has the potential to be used synergistically with other therapies.

ISS Alone

For respiratory diseases such as asthma, ISS can be used alone to modify the course of disease by reprogramming the immune system. ISS suppress the Th2 inflammatory response caused by any number of allergens to modify the underlying cause of inflammation as well as provide symptomatic relief.

Advanced ISS Technologies

For most of our preclinical programs, we use our advanced proprietary technologies that modify the molecular structure of ISS to significantly increase their versatility and potency, allowing dose sparing. We have developed novel, ISS-like compounds called CICs that induce specific immune responses, including potent interferon-alpha induction.