(MKT:IMUC) said U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave clearance Wednesday to start Phase I clinical trials of ICT-121, a vaccine that targets an antigen expressed in tumours.
The trial, which will be performed at a Los Angeles-based medical centre, will test the vaccine on 20 patients with glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive brain cancer.
Like ICT-107, now in Phase II trials treating subjects with the same type of brain cancer, the ICT-121 treatment is the second dendritic cell-based vaccine to enter the clinic.
Both brain tumour vaccines work by turning a patient's immune system against tumour associated antigens. This is done by pulling out dendritic cells and loading them with antigens. The cells, then, are reinserted into the patient's body to trigger an immune response.
"Preclinical studies indicate ICT-121 effectively targets CD-133, a protein that is over-expressed by a wide range of solid tumours," ImmunoCellular's chief executive Manish Singh said in a statement.
The company said that it is eager to continue evaluating an immunotherapeutic approach to cancer treatment, given the highly encouraging survival benefit seen in patients treated with ICT-107.
The company seeks to develop and sell new therapeutics using the immune system to fight cancer. ImmunoCellular is based in Los Angeles.