Aethlon Could Be Astronaut in MD Anderson Cancer Center Moon Shot Program
Published Friday, September 28, 2012 by Andrew Klips
On September 21, the cancer research experts at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center announced its “Moon Shot Program” - named in honor of President John F. Kennedy’s bold prediction in 1962 that the U.S. would make it to the moon by the 1970’s – as it embarks on a journey to drastically reduce the number of deaths from specific cancers by the year 2020.
In the highly motivated $3 billion dollar program, the large cancer center will be focused on lung cancer, melanoma, triple negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and the blood cancers acute myeloid leukemia/myelodysplastic syndrome and chronic lymphocytic leukemia. With a concerted effort, the doctors believe that people dying from cancer can be as infrequent as deaths from pneumonia.
Although the death rate from cancer has been steadily declining since the 1990s, the disease is still a leading killer annually across the globe. In the U.S., it is estimated that more than one half a million people will die from cancer with more than 1.5 million new cases being diagnosed in 2012.
There are a number of companies with novel therapies that could potentially garner support from the grand initiative of MD Anderson, although no official collaborations have been reported with the recent program launch.
It is notable that Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB: AEMD) Chairman and CEO, Jim Joyce, and Chief Science Officer, Dr. Richard Tullis, were invited to give a presentation at the MD Anderson Cancer Center earlier this month. The presentation was entitled, “The extracorporeal removal of tumor-secreted exosomes: An adjunct strategy to reverse immune suppression and inhibit metastases in melanoma.”
To understand why Aethlon may be a strong candidate to be a part of the MD Anderson push for cures is to understand Aethlon’s unique position in the cancer space related to exosomes.
Research across many indications is continuing to define the importance of exosomes, or tiny discus-shaped vesicles (microscopic “bubbles” inside cells that are filled with molecules like proteins and nucleic acids). Every mammal has exosomes shuttling around in their body. Because they can carry a wide variety of molecules, their role is expansive in playing a vital part of the immune system and has now been directly linked to potentially holding a the key to a next generation therapy for diseases such as the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB), and various forms of cancer, including ovarian, melanoma, breast, lymphoma, and colorectal. Take note of the similarities above in the cancers that MD Anderson has targeted.
This past summer new findings published in the journal Nature featured a groundbreaking cancer study by a team comprised of Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, with collaborative support from researchers at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the National Cancer Institute, and the US National Institutes of Health. In the publication, lead author Dr. Hector Peinado said, "If, in the future, we were able to find a way to control the education of bone marrow cells, as well as the release and content of tumor exosomes in cancer patients, we would be able to curtail and reduce the spread of cancer, and improve the patient's quality of life and survival."
With its Hemopurifier®, Aethlon is positioned as a leader in eradicating cancer-promoting exosomes that prove highly invasion to the immune system in cancer patients. The Hemopurifier®, which is a first-in-class device being advanced in Hepatitis C care, has also demonstrated the ability to capture cancer-promoting exosomes secreted by tumors. While Aethlon is conducting human trials and collecting robust data against hepatitis C virus, the company is also producing promising research in laboratory studies against cancer. In vitro studies have documented that the Hemopurifier® captures exosomes underlying cancer of different origin points. To date, the company has reported the in vitro capture of exosomes underlying melanoma, lymphoma, colorectal, ovarian, and breast cancer. Being the only device of its nature – coupled with the compelling data and growing knowledge of the role that disease enhancing exosomes play in cancer – puts Aethlon in a prime position to build a strong brand and potentially make substantial contributions in oncology. The company and its technology would seem to make a solid partner with MD Anderson and its commitment to changing the prognosis for many cancer victims.