From right: CEO Dr. Lior Carmon, and Julian Levy , President and CFO
/By Jewish Business News Service /
Cancer is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st Centuries. Although treatments have come a long way and can provide patients with better life quality and expectancy, the medical world has to yet find an answer of how to keep cancer from coming back.
One of the biggest problems with treating cancer is the fact that cancer cells are the cells of the patients themselves “gone wrong”. Hence, the patient’s immune system is not able to effectively protect against this.
A new approach is trying to provide a solution to this problem. A therapeutic vaccine educates the patient’s immune system to identify and destroy cancer cells. It works like a vaccine via activation of the immune system. However unlike preventative vaccines which are given to healthy people to stop those getting sick, it is given to sick people to make them well; so it works like a drug.
An Israeli company, Vaxil Bio, (TASE: VAXL.IT) is developing ImMucin, a therapeutic vaccine for the treatment of cancer. The ImMucin vaccine is a unique molecule, 21 amino acid peptide, taken from the MUC1 antigen (which is a cancer marker). ImMucin educates the patient’s immune system to destroy cells on which this particular molecule appears. As it typically appears only on cancer cells and not on healthy cells, the idea is that the Immune system will target and kill the cancer cells but leave healthy cells untouched. Around 90% of all cancers are believed to have this specific marker; hence ImMucin has tremendous potential.
ImMucin possesses some very unique qualities. It can induce a very strong and broad immune response and crucially, can activate the immune system in every patient with no need for personalization to their specific immune system. Furthermore, it can cope with the cancer cells’ attempts to evade the attempt of the immune system to fight them.
Recently a Phase I/II clinical trial (VAXIL-001) with, ImMucin, in 15 patients with Multiple Myeloma (a cancer of the blood), has met all endpoints with considerable success.
All patients enrolled in this study were experiencing a gradual re-emergence of the disease after a period of remission that had been attained following an autologous stem cell transplantation. The results indicate a high safety profile for ImMucin. In addition, 100% of the patients demonstrated a strong immunological response to ImMucin. Furthermore, nine of the fifteen patients demonstrated a clinical response. Of these, five patients ended the study in a state of Complete Response and a further four ended the study with Stable Disease, which requires no further treatment.
The trial was carried out in two Israeli medical centers: Hadassah Ein Kerem University Hospital in Jerusalem and Rambam Medical Center in Haifa.
Vaxil has continued to follow some of the patients who following completion of their treatment with ImMucin required no further treatment. Recently the company reported, that several of these patients still remain in the position where they do not require any further treatment for their disease, some of them for as long as 26 months and counting.
Dr. Lior Carmon, Vaxil’s CEO, noted, “We are very pleased with these results so far. The study achieved all of the goals we set and provides a very encouraging view regarding the future development of this vaccine, as well as a validation in patients for Vaxil’s VaxHit technology. Naturally, we intend to publish full results in an appropriate scientific journal as soon as possible”.
Lior Carmon, Ph.D., MBA
Founder CEO and head of research
Dr. Carmon is an expert in the fields of immunology and cancer with an in depth understanding of the science, business and market trends of cancer Immunotherapy. For the last 13 years, Dr. Carmon has served as a manager and founder in several Israeli biotech companies including as General Manager at Ester Neurosciences Ltd (acquired by Amarin Corp.), and as founder and VP business Development at CureTech Ltd. and at BioKine Therapeutics Ltd., two companies in the field of immune modulation and immunotherapy.