Cancer Vaccines – Harnessing a Patient’s Own Immune System to Fight the Disease by Sensitizing Dendritic Cells From Our Blood
Posted Nov 29 2009 10:01pm
There are many companies working with this type of formulation, instead of giving our body an element to fight cancer, the drugs such as Dendreon, now submitted to the FDA are the targets and could in time become a vaccine with adjusting how our cells react and use this to target the growth of tumors and cancer cells. On the other side of the coin the company Dendreon experienced quite a soap opera of history with it’s development and investors over a 2-3 year period.
This research takes the process one step further with placing an implant under the skin to attack the likes of skin cancer as well as tumors. QI is attempting to work the same type of process for breast cancer that Dendreon has done for prostate cancer with dendritic cells. Some of the other companies working in this direction include Celldex Therapeutics, Inovio Biomedical and MannKind Corp. The full article has details on these companies and a few more. This treatment program certainly sounds to have some real value to patients for sure in being either a potential replacement or enhancement to work with current chemotherapy processes. BD
Despite the setbacks and pitfalls experienced by early-stage pioneers in the cancer immunotherapy / therapeutic cancer vaccine space such as Cell Genesys, Favrille, and Genitope; recent advancements and study results are encouraging while Dendreon (NASDAQ: DNDN) awaits a FDA decision that is expected by May 2010 for its prostate cancer vaccine, Provenge, which is poised to become the first active cellular immunotherapy approved by the Agency to harness a patient’s own immune system in the fight against the disease.
Last week, a group of Harvard bioengineers and immunologists reported encouraging preclinical results for a novel delivery mechanism for therapeutic cancer vaccines that utilizes tiny plastic disks embedded with tumor-specific antigens and implanted under the skin to mobilize the immune system to attack melanoma (skin cancer) tumors in mice. The implants utilized in this study were made of an FDA-approved biodegradable polymer that is just 8.5 millimeters in diameter and highly porous (90% air) to make them highly permeable for interaction with cells of the immune system.
Quantum Immunologics (QI) is a privately held, clinical-stage company that is engaged in the research, development, and production of innovative therapeutic and diagnostic products that are based on the universal cancer antigen (oncofetal antigen or OFA) that also had news last week in the form of a pact with Auburn to develop a cancer immunotherapy product for use in animals.
QI’s approach to cancer immunotherapy involves sensitizing the dendritic cells from a patient’s own blood to recognize and direct the body’s immune system to attack breast cancer sites in a targeted effort to eradicate or stabilize the disease. This approach does not involve breast surgery (e.g. complete or partial removal of breast tissue), chemotherapy, or radiation - with the goal of eliciting a targeted immune response directed at cancer cells which may prove to be more effective and safer (i.e. a few days of temporary flu-like symptoms following treatment as the immune system attacks the cancer cells) than existing treatments.
Dendreon follows a similar approach for prostate cancer as it prepares to become a commercial-stage company with a pending FDA decision for Provenge (sipuleucel-T) expected by 5/1/10, following positive Phase 3 results announced earlier this year. Provenge is derived from a patient’s own immune system (dendritic cells, hence the name Dendreon) and is poised (upon FDA approval) to become the first of a new class of therapeutics called active cellular immunotherapies (ACI) which are also referred to as therapeutic cancer vaccines.