Microvax cancer vaccine first in human clinical trial in Singapore
Singapore, 12 August 2014 – MicroVAX, LLC, a biotech company located in Manassas, Virginia announced today the commencement of a phase I clinical trial for its unique and proprietary vaccine platform that allows under the provisions of an FDA IND entry of patients with cancers of the, breast, prostate, colon, ovary and lung, that have relapsed after initial salvage therapy.
The trial is sponsored by the Singapore Clinical Research Institute (SCRI), and conducted by Dr Toh Han Chong, Senior Consultant and Deputy Director at the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS). “Our main objective is to assess the safety and benefit of this unique vaccine, which aims to target a common protein on many of the commonest cancers such as colon cancer, breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and provide a specific extra boost to the immune system against cancer at the same time. We will also assess how potent this vaccine can stimulate a meaningful immune response against the cancers.” When fully implemented, the MicroVAX vaccine is designed to both destroy pre-existing cancerous tumors and prevent cancer.
NCCS also obtained a research grant for SGD $800,000 from National Medical Research Council, Singapore for support of the evaluation of the immune response induced by the vaccination of subjects in the clinical trial. Jake Frank, managing member of MicroVAX said: “MicroVAX is delighted to be partnering with Dr Toh Han Chong and his world class team of clinical cancer immunologists from the National Cancer Center Singapore, and the Singapore Clinical Research Institute on the initial clinical testing of its cancer vaccine.”
The MicroVAX cancer vaccine is comprised of the attachment of the target protein MUC-1, expressed on the surface of the cancers mentioned, to the potent immune stimulating molecule CD40L. This novel combination aims to further power up the body’s full immune system to attack the surface cancer protein, MUC1, thereby killing the cancer cells themselves. Pre-clinical testing, the results of which were reported in the Journal of Immunology, showed that the MUC-1/CD40L vaccine can overcome states of immune unresponsiveness (anergy), induce an immune memory response, and induce complete shrinkage of pre-existing cancers which are progressing. The vaccine platform concept was initiated at Yale University and was later supported by grants from the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the Sidney Kimmel Foundation for Cancer Research.
In addition to applying the TAA/ecdCD40L vaccine platform to several types of cancer, MicroVAX is studying the vaccine platform for application to several infectious diseases. “This trial showcases the strong partnership between an Academic Research Organization like SCRI with a biotech company like MicroVAX and a prestigious healthcare institution like NCCS in conducting new clinical trials in Singapore. It is also the first time SCRI embarks on sponsoring clinical trial to support the clinical trial community in Singapore”, said Dr Teoh Yee Leong, CEO, SCRI.
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