The most common cancer treatments include radiation and drug treatments, many of which are toxic and harmful to normal cells. In addition, tumor cells may simply develop resistance to chemical and radiation treatments, leading to recurrence of chemo- and/or radio-resistant cancers. The immune system, the body's natural defense system against disease, recognizes malignant and normal cells as essentially the same in persons with cancer. Cancer vaccines are designed to 'boost' the immune system so these abnormal cells are recognized as such and eliminated.
Pre-clinical studies have indicated that ImmuneFx™ acts by providing a priming action for the immune system. The priming antigen is supplied to the patient's own tumor cells, allogeneic cell lines or in vivo in the form of a DNA plasmid. The cellular machinery expresses the antigen on the surface of the tumor cells. Because the antigen is expressed on the surface of the tumor cells, it alerts the body's scavenging cells (antigen presenting cells) to the fact that these cells are now foreign. Once this priming action has initiated the immune response, the antigen presenting cells attack the tumor cells, digest them and display all the antigens, those specific to the tumor cells as well as the foreign antigen, to T cells which then initiate a response specific to all the antigens. In this way, a strong immune response is directed to the tumor in a way that was not possible before.
The ImmuneFx™ cancer vaccine capitalizes on the ability of bacterial antigens to evoke a strong immune response and the ability of the patient's immune system to respond to the presence of the bacterial antigens by directing the force of the immune system specifically to the tumor. In addition to the obvious human medical markets, Morphogenesis is also poised to enter the veterinary cancer market for companion animals. Preclinical studies have shown that the vaccine can be produced for and safely delivered to dogs with naturally occurring lymphoma. In all instances, the ImmuneFx™ vaccine was well tolerated, produced strong humoral, cellular and clinically relevant anti-tumor responses and elicited no toxic side effects.
Phase I human and canine trials for the ImmuneFx™ vaccine are expected to begin later this year.
Changing the way cancer treatment is managed
Change is the way of life
Diane Sawyer reports on how studies involving our canine companions are helping us with our search for new ways to fight cancer in us. Check it out on ABC News.
Veterinary Oncology Services, Inc., a Morphogenesis subsidiary, assists veterinary physicians in providing a non-toxic alternative to conventional chemo and radiation therapies to their patients with various types of malignancies.
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REGULATORY STATUS: ImmuneFx™ is an experimental treatment and HAS NOT been granted a Product License from the USDA or FDA.