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OncoSec Medical Incorporated Message Board

  • bobbifleiss bobbifleiss Oct 25, 2012 12:19 PM Flag

    This just in!

    Novel Electroporation Therapy Administration Technology Garners Attention

    U-T San Diego recently carried an article on San Diego-based biotech company OncoSec Medical (ONCS.OB), which is pioneering a non-invasive treatment for cancer that replaces resection (surgery) or chemotherapy. These traditional treatment methods are normally used to treat late stage skin cancer. The company is currently conducting Phase II clinical trials for an innovative therapy called Immunopulse, which catalyses the body's own immune response to destroy cancer cells. ImmunoPulse delivers short electrical pulses to the surface of a tumor, targeting the cancer cells directly and increasing the effectiveness of anti-cancer agents. The electrical current dramatically increases the porosity of cells in the targeted region, increasing their uptake potential (more on this below). This increased efficiency reduces the need to use larger drug dosages and thus reduces the incidence of toxicity and side effects. With $12 million in funding, the company is conducting simultaneous Phase II trials for ImmunoPulse in the treatment of metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T-Cell lymphoma. Although the latter are less common than many other forms of skin cancer, they can often be aggressive and resistant to drugs.

    The administration of electrical current into the body is called electroporation. OncoSec Medical's proprietary platform, called OncoSec Medical System (OMS), is based on electroporation and is used in conjunction with either chemotherapy agents or immunotherapy agents to target and attack cancer. The company explains that conventional or traditional cancer treatment cannot distinguish between normal cells and cancer cells. This means that large dosages of the anti-cancer agent are required to effectively treat cancer cells. Electroporation uses electrical pulses to create temporary pores in the tumor through which the tumor can absorb the anti-cancer agent, which has already been injected directly into the site. Once the current is stopped, the pores reseal themselves and trap the anti-cancer agent inside the tumor. By increasing the porosity of the tumor, the effectiveness of certain therapies can be increased by a factor of up to 4,000 times. The OMS electroporation platform consists of a generator and applicator. The generator creates a pulsed electric field that temporarily increases the porosity of cell membranes within the field. The hand-held applicator provides a series of short-duration electrical pulses of a specified voltage through a series of probes. Acting together, the generator and the applicator create a rotating array of pulses that uniformly increase the porosity of the targeted cells.

    The company is working on two separate approaches utilizing its OMS platform. The first is called ImmunoPulse, which uses the body's own immune system to destroy cancer cells. The OMS platform is used to deliver DNA IL-12 (a plasmid DNA construct with instructions to produce the IL-12 cytokine) into the electroporated cells. When the gene enters, it triggers the production of IL-12 cytokines, which in turn identifies it as a foreign entity to be targeted by the body's natural immune response. Cytokines are not considered to be viable anti-cancer therapy because of the toxic dosages required for effectiveness. However, cytokines delivered using DNA and the OMS platform has achieved effective results with a significantly reduced dosage, making this a viable treatment for both local and metastatic melanoma. Initial results suggest that gene therapy has the potential to not only treat cancer cells in the target area, but also to trigger immune responses affecting remote cancer cells. ImmunoPulse is currently being advanced in a Phase II confirmatory study, with enrollment at six centers throughout the U.S.

    OncoSec Medical's second method of treatment is called NeoPulse. NeoPulse increases the effectiveness of a proven anti-cancer drug in killing cancer cells, while minimizing the toxic side effects. NeoPulse uses the OMS system to destroy cancer cells using smaller doses of bleomycin, a highly effective, but also highly toxic, anti-cancer drug. Bleomycin has traditionally been intravenously injected, and because cancer cells cannot be accurately targeted, high dosages must be used, and significant side effects are common. OncoSec Medical believes that delivering bleomycin through the OMS system can achieve effective results with 1/20th of the traditional dosage and that the ability of the drug to kill cancer cells is enhanced by a factor of as much as 4,000 times. Extensive pre-clinical and clinical data from phase 1 through phase 4 clinical trials have demonstrated that NeoPulse is safe and highly effective in eradicating solid tumors.

    OncoSec Medical does not currently generate any revenue. The latest available results for the second quarter of 2012 show a loss attributable to common shareholders of $810,000. As of June 30th, cash and cash equivalents stood at $6.57 million, while Share Capital & APIC stood at $10.42 million. Accumulated losses as of that date were $4.61 million, while cash flow for the quarter was positive at $6.11 million due to the sale of stock worth $7.06 million. In order to protect its intellectual property, OncoSec announced that it has secured an exclusive license for specific patented technology from the University of South Florida Research Foundation (USFRF) relating to the delivery of gene-based therapeutics via intratumoral and intramuscular electroporation. This patent is directly related to the ongoing Phase II trials for metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma using the company's ImmunoPulse therapy, and extends patent protection for the ImmunoPulse technology to the year 2024.

    OncoSec is not developing a drug. Instead it is developing a drug delivery system using already approved anti-cancer agents. Additionally, electroporation is a proven technology. The company is further hedging its bets by developing two treatments on the OMS platform. OncoSec Medical is currently trading around $0.40, between a 52-week range of $0.12 and $1.00. The company has recently seen a large uptick in volume and share price appreciation based on the release of clinical data on the company's Merkel cell carcinoma trial, which showed a positive response by those treated. Investor interest should continue to grow, as more data will be released on the larger more profitable market of metastatic melanoma later this year. The positive results of both safety and efficacy could propel the share price to new highs. I urge investors to perform addition research into OncoSec Medical today, but with any micro cap stock associated risk must be considered.

    Sentiment: Strong Buy

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