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ImmunoCellular To Present On Cancer Stem Cells At AACR Annual Meeting

Biotech firm ImmunoCellular Therapeutics (OTC:IMUC) said Tuesday it plans to make a presentation on immunogenic epitopes at a cancer research meeting in Chicago.

The presentation is scheduled to take place at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research from March 31 to April 4, 2012, at the McCormick Place in Chicago.

ImmunoCellular will deliver its lecture on Sunday April 1, 2012 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. central standard time.

The development stage company develops therapies to treat cancer using the immune system. Its product portfolio includes cellular immunotherapies targeting cancer stem cell antigens and monoclonal anti-bodies to diagnose and treat various cancers.

ImmunoCellular said its presentation will be on the identification and characterization of immunogenic epitopes from CD133 and their potential to immunologically target cancer stem cells.

CD133 is a marker that identifies cancer stem cells on many solid tumors and its expression has been correlated with shortened survival.

Potential Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes epitopes were identified by computer algorithms to predict binding to HLA-A2 tissue type on white blood cells.

Studies with human cells in vitro demonstrated immunogenicity of two lead peptides and in vivo studies in mice confirmed the safety and immunogenicity of these peptides as a potential vaccine to target CD133 cancer stem cells, the company said.

The company said it plans to incorporate these peptides into its second product, ICT-121, for recurrent glioblastoma as the initial indication, followed by additional solid tumours.

To evaluate the potential for autoimmunity, mouse homolog peptides of the lead epitopes that were shown to have high affinity binding to human HLA-A2 were used to immunize HLA-A2 transgenic mice.

Mice were immunized three times at three week intervals and spleens were harvested and stimulated in vitro for one week, with peptide pulsed antigen presentation cells.

Interferon gamma tests showed immune responses to the two lead peptides in 35 and 40 percent of mice.
Organs of mice with immune responses, including heart, lung, kidneys and eyes, were found to be negative for lymphocytic infiltrations, supporting a lack of autoimmunity related to the immune response to these peptides, the company said.

Together, these studies support the safety and immunogenicity of these peptides as a potential vaccine to target CD133 cancer stem cells, it added.

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, headquartered is a Los Angeles, is a clinical-stage company that is developing immune-based therapies for the treatment of brain and other cancers.

Recently, it began a phase II trial for its lead product candidate, ICT-107, a dendritic cell-based vaccine targeting multiple tumour associated antigens for glioblastoma, an aggressive type of brain tumour.