Novosibirsk company to start clinical trials of cancer vaccine

 10/4/2013, 01:36
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Novosibirsk company to start clinical trials of cancer vaccine
T-killer (left) attacking a cancer cell, photo from georg-speyer-haus.de

Novosibirsk company «AvaksisBio» is preparing for clinical trials of a therapeutic DNA vaccine against breast cancer at Novosibirsk Municipal Clinical Hospital № 1, Director Sergei Zaitsev reported to Sib.fm’s correspondent.

The company previously completed pre-clinical trials of the drug. «We strongly hope to begin clinical trials later this year», declared Zaitsev at the time. The effect of the vaccine, which is administered to diseased patients, is based on the use of genetically modified dendritic cells that stimulate specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes, precisely attacking the tumour.

Dendritic cells are the cells in bone marrow that are responsible for the work of the immune system’s T-cells

Dendritic cells are taken from the patients for genetic modification. They are «taught» to recognise proteins that are typical to tumour cells. Thus, the modified cells, in turn, «teach» the patient’s immune system how to recognise and attack the tumour using a type of lymphocyte known as T-killer cells.

«In fact, it’s a treatment method, not a pharmaceutical product. The sample for the clinical trials will be about 40 people, which will be enough at the moment. Each patient’s blood will be sent to the processing centre and brought back for reintroduction,» said Zaitsev.

The cost of a single course of treatment is about 300,000 roubles ($9,300). Part of the money was allocated by the regional authorities, the rest had to be taken from other sources, stated the company director. Zaitsev hopes that the trials will take a year and a half «under ideal conditions».

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He continued to say that the emergence of the company is historically linked with the VECTOR research centre, while the idea of using modified cells was developed in cooperation with the Novosibirsk Institute of Clinical Immunology, part of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

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