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.
Tumors deploy multiple parallel mechanisms that synergize – meaning that they work together to get more bang for their buck. In this way, tumors are able to subvert the immune response and protect themselves from being eradicated by the immune system. Thus, we need to similarly deploy multiple parallel synergistic mechanisms to re-program the immune response – to re-hijack it from tumors.
It is very rare that you find a patient with a tumor that has a dominant immune checkpoint – where you can simply reverse that one mechanism and see an effect. To put it frankly, we need to move towards combination approaches in immunotherapy.
With our ongoing series on immunotherapy and comparisons between various cancer treatment techniques, it is important to see what it is that different therapies do to the human body. In the field of cancer research, there are many types of treatment that are currently used. Today, we examine what radiation therapy and several variations of targeted therapy and immunotherapy do, in order to discuss the effects of cancer treatment on the body:
In our ongoing attempt to get our community better acquainted with what we do at OncoSec, we’ve been creating more dialogue around our ImmunoPulse program and recent clinical trial data. With the expanding biotech landscape, we find it important to educate the public about topics of interest that are directly impacting the way medicine is being researched and treatment options created. The field of immunotherapy is one of these fields on the cutting edge of medical advancements. Here we’ve compiled a list of four frequently asked questions about immunotherapy:
Immunotherapy is the vein of medicine and biotechnology that uses the human immune system in fighting disease. This is done through stimulating, signaling or otherwise manipulating the cells of the immune system to more effectively locate and destroy foreign cells. With some obvious differences from more traditional treatment methods, immunotherapy techniques attempt to use smaller dosages of drugs, while maximizing effectiveness. One of the important agents currently being researched for use in immunotherapy is interleukin-12 (or IL-12).
SAN DIEGO – October 1, 2013 — OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing its advanced-stage ImmunoPulse DNA-based immunotherapy and NeoPulse therapy to treat solid tumors, has announced it will be presenting at the Cancer Vaccines and Gene Therapy Meeting at The Desmond Malvern Hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Dr. Richard Heller, Professor at Old Dominion University will be presenting pre-clinical data on the use of electroporation to deliver plasmid IL-12 in solid tumors in a presentation titled: Gene Electrotransfer as an Effective Delivery Tool. This presentation will take place on Thursday, October 3 at 3:30 PM ET.
Dr. Adil Daud, principal investigator and co-director of melanoma research at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine will be presenting an update to OncoSec’s Phase II melanoma immune response data, which will include IL-12 expression findings in a presentation titled Gene Electrotransfer in Solid Tumors. This presentation will take place on Friday, October 4 at 1:00 PM ET.
About the Cancer Vaccines and Gene Therapy Meeting
The Cancer Vaccines and Gene Therapy Meeting will bring together important leaders to present and discuss the latest approaches and technologies used to develop promising anti-cancer therapeutics.
With the severity of many cancer cases, the treatment of cancer is regarded as a very sensitive area. Strict regulations surround the research and delivery of treatment, there are specific protocols used by doctors in diagnosis, and long established doctrine often governs which treatment option is used. Because of these factors, a few cornerstone treatments have surfaced over the years, which still make up the majority of treatments. The two options used most often, aside from surgery for early-stage tumors, are chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Today, we take a look at each therapy method and compare them to immunotherapy.
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.
Many cancer research and treatment companies create and utilize various methods of treatment. These may be a combination of existing techniques or a new technology developed by the company itself. At OncoSec, one of our treatment methods is ImmunoPulse: a system we’re testing for the treatment of late-stage skin cancer, including merkel cell carcinoma, cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, and metastatic melanoma. With pending announcements surrounding interim data from our phase II trial for metastatic melanoma coming up soon, we would like to review a bit of the description of our ImmunoPulse treatment option currently being tested.
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: