While melanoma rates have been rising over the last 30 years, advancements in treatment and early detection are providing new hope for patients everywhere. In this edition of Guided By Science, we explore melanoma prevention, early detection, and new treatments that are changing the way we treat this deadly disease.
On behalf of the OncoSec team, we’re thrilled to announce the first patient enrolled in the Phase II Investigator Sponsored Trial led by the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) to assess the safety and efficacy of the combination of our investigational therapy, ImmunoPulse™ IL-12, and Merck’s approved anti-PD-1 agent, KEYTRUDA® (pembrolizumab), in patients with unresectable metastatic melanoma.
Being cutting-edge by introducing new tech advances is great, but it’s not the only way to go in entrepreneurship. Just ask the 34-year-old Punit Dhillon.
Punit Dhillon launched OncoSec Medical in 2011, leveraging “dead technology” to develop innovative medical treatments that harness the body’s immune system to detect and fight cancer. The revolutionary breakthrough has given hope to cancer patients and helped the company to grow from $20 to $100 million in less than 4 years. In this Q&A, I talked with Punit about his innovation and entrepreneurship in general.
Recently, we filmed a clinical progress video discussing details of our ImmunoPulse therapy and results with Tu Diep: OncoSec’s executive director of clinical development. With over a decade of experience in clinical research, prior to joining OncoSec – including Protox Therapeutics Inc. (now Sophiris Bio Inc.) – Mr. Diep’s experience has been a large asset to our company.
In biotech, there are many different approaches or veins of science used, in the research and creation of potential treatments, drugs, and delivery methods. For centuries, the health industry has relied on invasive surgery and curative procedures that can have dangerous, long-term side effects for patients. However, there are some newer scientific discoveries that have allowed us to move towards more effective treatment options that are also less damaging to our bodies. One of these categories of research is that of immunotherapy: using the body against disease, instead of relying on as many non-targeted, exterior factors.
Clinical trials are a requirement, for any new drug or treatment method attempting to gain approval for public use. The process is meant to show the effectiveness, safety, stability and repeatable nature of the proposed treatment, in order to prove that it works. Clinical trials are a long, intensive process that takes years and millions of dollars to complete. In fact, it is believed that the average drug costs $1.3 billion, to bring it to the point of sale, and as much as $11 billion.
In OncoSec’s active pursuit of knowledge in the cancer and biotech realms, we come across a vast number of articles that we believe exhibit strong signs of importance, within our industry. While we regularly share some of these with our online community, we would like to start highlighting certain news articles, study data, and other materials. Here are three articles we are currently reading:
While skin cancer is well-known and well-documented, in most communities, few people differentiate between the various types. Melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are, unfortunately, quite prevalent (and on the rise). It is important to understand the risk factors and preventative measures for these cancer types. However, there is one rare type of skin cancer called Merkel cell carcinoma: a deadly type of skin cancer with a low survival rate that still has no approved, specialized treatment method.