Is a Cancer Vaccine Closer Than We Think?
I had not planned on writing a follow-up to my Adamis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:ADMP) article until after their secondary raise and Nasdaq uplist, but an article I read in my Sunday paper and a related story on CNN served as a perfect invitation to highlight the main reason I bought Adamis even before they purchased the Taper Inhaler from 3M.
Delivering on the Promise of T-Cell Therapy
The promise of T-cell therapy for cancer is real, and the success stories mentioned in the links above are proof that scientists are delivering on that promise. Taking T-cells from cancer patients and modifying them to attack cancer cells is proving to be an effective means of beating cancer, and for many a cure. One example is Dendreon's (NASDAQ:DNDN) Provenge used for advanced prostate cancer. Provenge is a personalized treatment, an immunotherapy that takes your own immune cells and reprograms them to attack your advanced prostate cancer. This process delivers a treatment designed just for you. One large barrier to this method is cost, since it is essentially a unique treatment for each patient requiring the harvesting of a patient's T-cells, their modification, then reinsertion.
TeloB-VAX is a very different approach for triggering a T-cell response to allow a patient's immune system to fight cancer cells. Adamis licensed this patented cancer vaccine technology from the University of California San Diego (UCSD), where it was discovered and developed by Dr. Maurizio Zanetti, professor of medicine and director of the Laboratory of Immunology at UCSD's Moores Cancer Center. In simple terms, TeloB-VAX activates the body's natural defenses to stimulate an immune response against cancer cells. It does this by inducing a T-cell response that targets a universal tumor marker called telomerase.
TeloB-VAX Phase1 Results
In a Phase 1 study completed at UCSD, in castrate resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) patients, the TeloB-VAX vaccine was safe, non-toxic and immunogenic. A single immunization induced a T-cell response, and two injections of TeloB-VAX spaced one month apart, was shown to further increase the response. Of greater importance was the fact that the T-cells induced post vaccination, were shown to specifically kill prostate cancer cells. Currently Adamis is planning a Phase 2 study in CRPC patients. According to their website, the study will be conducted at UCSD and at the University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center, and could very well be funded by money raised from the upcoming secondary offering of stock. TeloB-VAX treatment offers to be a low cost solution compared to current T-cell immunotherapies since it does not require the harvesting of a patient's T-cells or complicated culture procedures.
The Promise of a Vaccine for Cancer
The TeloB-VAX vaccine "is the first concrete opportunity to program the immune system to mobilize killer lymphocytes to combat cancer cells, whether these are adult differentiated cells or progenitor cancer stem cells," Dr. Zanetti says. "Since telomerase is increased in over 85% of all cancers, the vaccine can potentially be used to treat multiple cancer types, such as breast, lung, and colon cancer. It can truly be considered a platform therapeutic vaccine technology."
Dr. Zanetti's comments should not be taken lightly. Imagine getting a simple vaccination that triggers the body to kill cancer cells similar to how the flu is fought today. That time may not be so far away, and Adamis would seem to possess the technology to make it happen.
Disclosure: I am long ADMP. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.