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Stem cell-based vaccine against brain cancer improves survival:ImmunoCellular

Friday, March 12, 2010, 12:31 This news item was posted in Clinical Trials category and has 0 Comments so far.

A dendritic cell-based vaccination with cancer stem cells developed by ImmunoCellular has been found improving the survival rate of brain cancer -glioblastoma – patients.

ImmunoCellular’s experimental cancer stem cells vaccine demonstrated a statistically significant” survival benefit in a preclinical animal model of glioblastoma, the company announced in a press statement

In the preclinical studies, the rats were either immunized with cancer stem cells (CSCs) from a brain cancer tumour or the daughter cells (the bulk of the tumour), and results showed that those immunized with the CSCs had a median survival of 50 days compared to 29 days for daughter cells.

30 per cent of animals vaccinated against cancer stem cells also demonstrated long term survival as compared to animals vaccinated with the bulk of the tumour, all of which died.

“The data further validates our research indicating that targeting CSCs has the potential to be a highly effective method of treating various cancers,” stated Dr Manish Singh, president and CEO of ImmunoCellular Therapeutics.

The data also demonstrated increased Gamma-Interferon levels in animals treated with CSCs, indicating an increased immune response consistent with increase in survival further supporting the mechanism of action of this approach.

Dendritic cells are critical facilitators of a T cell response but are often not present in sufficient numbers and are often not aggressive enough against malignant tumors to permit an adequately potent immune response to fight cancer.

Dendritic cell therapy generally involves harvesting dendritic cells from a patient, then culturing and processing them in a laboratory to produce more numerous and effective dendritic cells. In the laboratory, the dendritic cells are cultured with specific tumor antigens to enable the dendritic cells to recognize cancer cells as targets for attack.

When the newly cultured dendritic cells are injected back into the patient, they seek out remaining tumor cells and signal the T cells to destroy them.

ImmunoCellular has recently completed phase-I trial of its lead cancer vaccination product candidate ICT-107.

ICT-107 is an active immunotherapy developed from studies conducted by ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, showed that targeting certain specific antigens that are highly expressed on cancer stem cells (CSCs) can lead to significant benefit in progression free survival as well as overall survival in glioblastoma patients.

The company is planning to initiate a multicenter Phase II study in the second half of 2010.

The company’s “off the shelf” vaccine product candidate (ICT-121) targeting cancer stem cells for multiple cancer indications is targeted by ImmunoCellular to enter clinical trials for glioblastoma during the second half of 2010.

ICT-121 is a cancer stem cell vaccine that consists of a peptide to stimulate a cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) response to CD-133, which is generally overexpressed on the cancer stem cells.
It is designed as an off-the-shelf vaccine which may be applicable to multiple types of cancers overexpressing CD-133.

ImmunoCellular has entered into a research and license option deal with the Roche Group for one of the Company’s monoclonal antibody product candidates for the diagnosis and treatment of ovarian cancer and multiple myeloma, which provides for potential licensing and milestone payments of $32MM and royalties if the Roche Group exercises its option and commercializes this antibody technology for multiple indications.

ImmunoCellular is in pre-clinical development of another monoclonal antibody product candidate for the treatment of small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer, and is also evaluating its platform technology for monoclonal antibody discovery to target cancer stem cells.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics is a Los Angeles-based clinical-stage company that is developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of brain and other cancers.

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