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.
Importance of Immunotherapy
Immunotherapy harnesses the immune system, to fight off diseases and cancerous growth. With treatment options that use DNA, cell signalling and other targeted approaches, the area affected by treatment is much more pinpointed. This allows for cancer treatments that are applied only to cancerous cells, instead of healthy cells, causing less damage to patients. The potential for immunotherapy is currently on the rise, as many companies are now applying it to different types of cancers and other diseases.
With the genetic nature of the immunotherapy discipline, there is the potential for long-term positive effects, as cell memory may protect patients for some time after treatment has ended (Source: Cancer Research Institute). The importance of immunotherapy lies in safety, prolonged effects, non-invasive application methods and their overall effectiveness. While many immunotherapy treatment techniques are still in the clinical trial phase (including those of OncoSec), current findings indicate that immunotherapy may continue to have a deep impact on the biotech industry and healthcare, in general.
ImmunoPulse and DNA IL-12
OncoSec is currently testing its patented ImmunoPulse alternative treatment option, in several clinical trials for late-stage skin cancers metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. This immunotherapy alternative therapy uses DNA IL-12 to instruct the body to create IL-12 proteins and aides in targeting, locating and destroying cancer cells. For more information on ImmunoPulse and the use of DNA IL-12, here is a recent post displaying some key factors.
The goal of this research is to investigate late-stage skin cancer therapies that are less damaging to patients than existing technologies. By aiming to advance the treatment of these conditions with immunotherapy, we hope to elicit a high durable response rate and lasting impact. You can view some of the recent (July 22nd, 2013) response data here.
Combination Treatment Possibilities
In the last year, the combination of two immunotherapy drugs (or an immunotherapy option alongside another type) has elicited higher response rates and greater regression of tumors (Source: Yale University). While there have been a large number of studies performed on animal populations, we are only just beginning to test these combined immunotherapy methods on human cancer patients. If combined therapies are found to be successful in these clinical trials, it could place immunotherapy research at the forefront of health sciences and technology.
In our sponsored research with Old Dominion University, we are testing our ImmunoPulse immunotherapy technique alongside anti-CTLA4 and anti-PD1 drugs, in order to investigate a potential increase in response. While current clinical trials for ImmunoPulse have demonstrated a potentially effective method on its own, we are excited to evaluate several potential combination treatment options. More information and data will be released through our press channels, when it is released. For a list of our past press releases or to sign up for our newsletter or letter to shareholders, please see our press page.