Vaccine trial gets good results ~ development of ovarian cancer treatment
Vaccine trial gets good results
October 9, 2012 - 6:36pm By BRETT BUNDALE Business Reporter
Immunovaccine encouraged in development of ovarian cancer treatment
Halifax biotechnology outfit Immunovaccine Inc. has rolled out positive early results from its ovarian cancer vaccine clinical trial.
The promising findings include patients producing a targeted and consistent immune response after only one or two doses of the vaccine, DPX-Survivac.
Marc Mansour, chief science officer of Immunovaccine, said the interim results provide important support for the ongoing development of the vaccine and could help the firm attract a partner.
“The reason we’ve released the results is they are all criteria for potential partners when they look at a product and decide if there is something here that is worth investing in,” he said in an interview Tuesday.
“Now that we have this data, we will be talking to and updating all companies with an interest in immune therapies and cancer vaccines and showing them what we have. The goal is to always look for partnering opportunities to help finance the ongoing and the upcoming clinical trial.”
Regulatory agencies both in the United States and Canada have already approved the second phase of clinical trials pending positive results from the first phase.
With an interim analysis in hand that shows the vaccine is safe and well tolerated with no “systemic side-effects or dose-limiting toxicities,” Mansour said Immunovaccine will embark on Phase 2 of the clinical trial once the first phase wraps up, with or without a partner.
“It depends on the partner and their willingness to enter into a certain stage of development. Some partners purposely wait until after the Phase 2 because they think it’s de-risked at that point; some partners like to get in at the Phase 2.”
During Phase 1 of the clinical trial, Immunovaccine administered a low dose of DPX-Survivac in combination with an immune enhancing agent to half the patients and a slightly higher dose to the other half.
Every patient generated an immune response, with the higher dose generating more of a response.
“That is another good signal because it tells us we are seeing something that is due to the vaccine. A low dose generates a good response and a high dose generates an even better response.”
While the therapeutic ovarian cancer vaccine is still in the early stages of development, its purpose is to activate T-cells in the human body, which can recognize and kill cancer cells.
The vaccine could be given to ovarian cancer patients after surgery and chemotherapy to prevent the cancer from returning.
“We’re going to train the immune system to be a surveillance system so it can seek out those cells and eliminate them before they get established or while they are still very small tumours,” Mansour said.
In the future, he said, it’s possible the vaccine could be used to prevent ovarian cancer altogether, but he said that is still a long way off.