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Related Topics >> Stimuvax | Provenge | Oncovir | Hiltonol | cancer vaccine

Researchers see cancer vaccine revolution on the horizon

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There are already several cancer vaccine drugs nearing FDA approval. Dendreon's prostate cancer vaccine Provenge is awaiting the agency's OK, and Merck KGaA's Stimuvax is in trials for multiple myleoma, lung cancer, and breast cancer. But researchers hope that by making patients allergic to cancer early on, they can revolutionize the way the disease is treated.

UPMC researcher Olivera Finn is developing a vaccine to treat patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. While it's shown some success, Finn believes the treatment will work best in those who haven't yet developed the illness. So she's testing it on subjects who have precancerous polyps, hopoing that by administering the treatment early, disease progression can be halted. The idea is to make the body allergic to antigents, markers found on the surface of cancer cells. "If we immunize early on, the cells that become abnormal might actually be eliminated by a strong immune response," says Finn. That immune response is most likely to work early in a disease, when the body's immune system is still strong. Finn is several years away from reporting results.

In a different study being conducted by UPMC neurosurgeon Hideho Okada, researchers will test whether the immune system booster Hiltonol can slow or stop gliomas, a type of brain cancer. "Our goal is to educate the immune system so that it recognizes the cancer-specific antigens," says Okada. Hiltonol, made by Seattle's Oncovir, is being tested in 12 cancer vaccine trials. It sends a warning signal to the patient's immune system telling it to attack the cancer.

Part of the challenge of testing preventative vaccines in people with early-stage cancer is time; patients would have to be followed for years for researchers to determine if early treatment was effective. And that's enormously expensive. "...[I]t's much easier to do that after you've got a revenue-generating product," says Robert Kirkman, president of Oncothyreon, which originally developed Stimuvax. That's why developers choose to treat late-stage diseases first.

- read this article for more

Related Articles:
Harvard team heralds cancer vaccine breakthrough
Therapeutic vaccine targets colon cancer proteins
Big Pharma takes an interest in cancer vaccines


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More stories about Stimuvax   Provenge   Oncovir   Hiltonol   cancer vaccine  

Comments

I just finished reading this article on cancer vacines and another on Dendreon - a stock which I happen to own.

I anyone familiar with an Australian company called Prima Biomed (PRR):ASX? They have a product called "C-Vac" which, from what I understand, uses the same technology as Dendreon.

They are currently evaluating C-Vac in the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer following initial surgery. Having lost my sister a couple of years ago to this disease, I have a first hand awareness of how difficult this disease is to treat.

If successful, I believe this stock currently trading at about $0.15 could be a blockbuster. I would be most interested in other opinions on PRR. Thanks.

I hold PRR also and have been fortunate to enjoy the run up from 0.005 to 0.15 (trading at 0.165 at the moment). I think that the pending FDA announcement on DNDN will have an effect on Primas SP (whether good or bad). If FDA approve Dendreons technology (similar to what PRR use in their treatment of Ovarian cancer), then the upside potential for PRR could be huge. They are also looking at a NASDAQ listing later in the year, ODS status, awaiting ODS status in Europe (decision due early June). In addition they are working on an oral Gardasil product which, if it works, could be huge also...definitely worth keeping an eye on.

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