Next-Generation Cancer Immunotherapies
This article was originally published in Start Up
New approaches to cancer immunotherapy promise to change the face of cancer care in a way that will reverberate through the field for years to come. In this issue, we profile Borean Pharma, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals and Receptor Logic.
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Apthera was formed two years ago to further develop NeuVax, an investigational therapeutic cancer vaccine. NeuVax, which combines the T-cell peptide E75 with GM-CSF, is poised to enter Phase III testing in early-stage breast cancer patients to prevent recurrence of the disease and is also in early trials in prostate cancer,
Many believe that for therapeutic cancer vaccines, a more flexible two-stage system of proof-of-principle trials followed by efficacy trials should replace the current Phase I-III structure. That's because the paradigm used for oncology drug development is based on criteria developed for cytotoxic agents, which present a very different toxicity profile, metabolism, and manner of biological and clinical response.
OncoMed Pharmaceuticals' mission is to translate its founders' cancerous stem cell insights into novel medicines capable of eliminating the cancer stem cell and halting the spread of solid tumors. The company has identified about 50 proteins characteristic of cancer stem cells and has established a large library of antibodies capable of binding to them. It is also identifying small-molecule compounds that can halt these cancer stem cells.