VANCOUVER, British Columbia, June 25, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- via PRWEB - Immunitor Inc., a Vancouver-based biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of oral vaccines, announced today that initial clinical data of the company's lead cancer vaccine has been presented as an oral presentation at the 4th International Conference "Current Advances in Microbiology and Immunology", held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Presentation dealt with findings from the proof-of-concept study in thirteen patients diagnosed with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or liver cancer.
Liver cancer is the fifth most common cancer worldwide. While the majority of HCC cases occur in Asia (especially Japan and China) and sub-Saharan Africa the incidence is on the rise in the USA and Western Europe due to chronic hepatitis B and C viral infections. It has an extremely poor prognosis, with the number of new cases (782,000) nearly matching the number of annual deaths (746,000) - making it the 3rd leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the world. The only available chemotherapy drug, Nexavar (sorafenib), prolongs survival by about 3 months, but so far no effective or curative treatment has been developed, indicating the unmet medical need.
Mongolia has the world's highest rate of liver cancer prevalence and mortality--six times the global average. In this setting Immunitor had undertaken an open label salvage study involving thirteen patients with advanced, inoperable HCC characterized by elevated serum levels of alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) biomarker. Patients were given one daily tablet of the vaccine containing the mixture of tumor antigens together with alloantigens from pooled blood. After average 2.2 months of treatment 12 out of 13 (92.3%) patients experienced eleven-fold decrease of AFP from median 91.3 to 8.2 IU/ml (P=0.02 by Wilcoxon matched-pairs test); of these seven (53.8%) had exhibited absolute marker levels (median 3.2 IU/ml), which were within what is considered a normal range (0-10 IU/ml). The decrease in AFP was correlated with tumor clearance or regression on CT scans or sonography. None of the patients experienced any adverse effects and are still well and alive after median follow-up of 9 months (range 3-54), which is three times longer than typical 3 months survival in historical controls in terminal stage of HCC. These findings indicate that vaccine holds promise as safe, effective and fast-acting immunomodulatory intervention for HCC.
Company CEO, Dr. Aldar Bourinbaiar, commented on the results, "This outstanding clinical response highlights the therapeutic potential of our vaccine, especially when one considers the fact that all our patients were in terminal stage of the disease. To the best of our knowledge such an outcome is better than one can find in the entire cancer immunotherapy field. We hope our data will shift treatment paradigms and demonstrate the value of our immunotherapy in treating HCC and other cancers"
"We are entering the new era where immune therapies will be the mainstay of cancer management. We are making headways with planned multi-country trial which will expand on our proof-of-concept study," said Dr. Allen Bain, Company Director in Vancouver. "Unlike with previous cancer vaccines, Provenge and Yervoy, we do not merely seek to prolong the survival of patients by a few months; we potentially have a cure - a revolutionary breakthrough that no one has been able to deliver so far".
About Company: For the last 10 years Immunitor has been the leader in the field of immunotherapy focusing on the development and commercialization of novel immunotherapies based on proprietary oral delivery technology. Company's oral vaccine platform technology is unique and may fundamentally impact the cancer treatment landscape and bring much-needed relief to patients faced with unmet medical needs. For more information visit company website http://www.immunitor.com
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Immunitor Inc Aldar BourinbaIar +1 301 476-0930