NetworkNewsWire Editorial Coverage: When it comes to cancer – a disease that has been referred to as the “modern plague” – any positive developments are good news indeed. In the ongoing battle against cancer, companies like TapImmune, Inc. (TPIV) (TPIV Profile), Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (AVXL), Propanc Health Group Corporation (PPCH), Aquinox Pharmaceutical, Inc. (AQXP) and Bellicum Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BLCM) are working hard to bring even more good news to cancer patients and their families.
There was both good and bad news in the United States Government’s latest Annual Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer (1), which covers the time period spanning 1975-2014. The good news: cancer death rates continue to decrease in men, women and children for all major ethnic groups; the overall rates of new cancers have decreased in men and stabilized in women; and five-year survival rates have improved for most—but not all—common types of cancer, including both early- and late-stage disease. The bad news: death rates have increased for liver, pancreas and brain cancers in men and for liver and uterine cancers in women.
Fewer bad tidings and many more good are the aim of various companies engaged in finding and developing new and innovative means of treating cancer.
Some exciting cancer therapy advancements come from TapImmune, Inc. (TPIV), a leading immuno-oncology company that provides pioneering T-cell vaccines and novel immunotherapy platforms. TapImmune’s immunotherapies take the unique approach of targeting both metastatic disease and tumors. The primary cause of death among cancer patients is not the primary tumor but metastatic disease, or the spreading of cancer to untreatable areas of the body. TapImmune’s therapies have advanced beyond the abilities of earlier vaccine approaches by treating both tumors and metastatic diseases, and TapImmune’s work is further distinguished by its approach of activating a patient’s own immune system in fighting cancer. While the idea of enlisting the body’s immune system to combat cancer is not a new one, recent and dramatic breakthroughs by companies like TapImmune have brought this concept to the forefront in an exciting way.
TapImmune’s next-generation technology is able to standalone as a powerful therapy or be combined with other immunotherapies. The company is currently developing two vaccines that merge proprietary peptide antigen sets designed to invoke both killer T-cell (CD8) and helper T-cell (CD4) immune responses against specific proteins present on the surface of most target tumor cells. The naturally processed antigens in these vaccines are derived from human immune responses that are recognized by over 85 percent of the population. This enables TapImmune to direct a uniquely strong and durable anti-tumor immune response across a broader patient population. Other companies in the oncology field lag far behind TapImmune, developing immune-modulating technologies that prompt only CD4 T-cell response, only CD8 T-cell response, or none at all.
The company is currently advancing its two clinical-stage T-cell vaccine candidates in multiple phase II and phase Ib/IIa clinical trials for treating ovarian and breast cancers, both of which are typically resistant to immunotherapies. Included are ovarian cancer programs that will benefit from FDA Fast Track and Orphan Disease Designation. TapImmune is collaborating with industry and clinical leaders like the Mayo Clinic, AstraZeneca and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Anavex Life Sciences (AVXL) is engaged in developing differentiated therapeutics to treat a variety of diseases, including cancer. The company is exploring the approach of using sigma receptors as targets for therapeutics to combat disease. Anavex has found that when sigma receptors are bound by the appropriate ligands, they influence the function of multiple biochemical signals involved in pathogenesis, or the origin of disease. The company’s pipeline includes compounds in varying stages of preclinical study for the treatment of melanoma, pancreatic cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer and ovarian cancer.
Propanc Health Group (PPCH), a development-stage health care company, is focused on developing new and proprietary treatments for cancer patients who are suffering from solid tumors like pancreatic, ovarian and colorectal cancers. Working with scientific and oncology consultants, Propanc has developed a rational, composite formulation of anti-cancer compounds that work together to exert various effects designed to control or prevent the recurrence and spread of tumors. The company’s leading products are variations on its novel formulation and involve or employ proenzymes. The company’s long-term therapy is based on a pancreatic proenzyme formulation to suppress tumor recurrence and metastasis, while PRP, its lead candidate, controls cancer cell migration, impedes tumor blood vessel formation and triggers cell death.
Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Aquinox Pharmaceutical (AQXP) is also focused on the discovery and development of targeted therapeutics in immuno-oncology disease areas. While the company’s chief focus is currently anti-inflammatory product candidates, its longer-term strategy is to broaden development activities for its lead product candidate, AXQ-1125, for the treatment of cancer.
The approach of clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Bellicum Pharmaceuticals (BLCM) is developing novel stem cell transplant, TCR and CAR T cell therapies. Operating on the belief that cellular control is the key to safer, more effective cell therapies, the company’s product candidates incorporate molecular switches that are designed to allow the activation or elimination of therapeutic cells within the body. The focus of Bellicum Pharmaceuticals is discovering and developing cellular immunotherapies for hematological cancers, solid tumors and orphan inherited blood diseases.
As advancements continue in the fight against cancer, these companies continue their efforts to develop new methods for combating the disease and increase instances of good news for cancer patients and their loved ones.
(1) Cancer.gov: http://nnw.fm/9uSBp
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