OncoSec is continuing to execute on its corporate milestones, which were laid out for our investors at the beginning of 2012. The fourth quarter of 2012 will mark an important achievement for OncoSec – the announcement of preliminary data from our Phase II ImmunoPulse clinical trials, the first of which will be presented at this years annual meeting for the Society of Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC) later this week. Here, we will be presenting data from 5 patients treated in our Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) program. Merkel cell carcinoma is an aggressive cancer that starts in the skin and Merkel cells. If you’d like to know more about this cancer, you can read our previous blog post titled, “What is Merkel Cell Carcinoma“.
We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight why our work done on our MCC program is significant:
1. Hope – This is a rare and highly aggressive form of skin cancer with a 40% mortality rate and approximately 2,500 newly diagnosed cases each year. Currently, treatment options for people suffering from MCC are generally limited to surgery and radiation. This can result in debilitating side effects and quality of life. ImmunoPulse offers a potential treatment option to a cancer indication with very limited treatment options.
2. Breakthrough – Earlier this year, OncoSec was featured in a news segment by a local NBC affiliate in Seattle, KIRO News 7, that told the story of the great work being done to better understand and treat MCC by researchers at the University of Washington. We have come a long way in less than a year. This clinical milestone represents a breakthrough because it will be the first time safety and efficacy data will be reported for ImmunoPulse that’s specifically targeting MCC
3. Focused Clinical Pipeline – We now understand that the immune system can play a vital role in causing some cancers. In many cancers the immune system is compromised, so instead of stopping tumor growth, it promotes it, allowing it to grow uncontrollably. Merkel cell carcinoma is one of these cancers. In this cancer indication, the immune system is suppressed and not performing it’s function to seek and kill cancerous cells. Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a naturally occurring anticancer cytokine central to the initiation and regulation of cellular anti-cancer immune responses. However, until now, the use of IL-12 as a cancer therapeutic has been limited due to toxicities observed with its use as a recombinant protein. OncoSec is developing DNA therapeutics capable of producing IL-12 to achieve a clinically active, yet safe level of the therapy. We believe, that this approach has the potential to be a powerful treatment for cancers like MCC, which are a result of a dysfunctional immune system.
Below please find a snapshot of the milestones for OncoSec’s MCC program: