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Aus cancer vaccine closer to human trials

20:00 EDT 29 Jun 2017 | Australian Life Scientist

Radvax, a cancer treatment vaccine, being developed by South Australian company Vaxine, is closer to human trials.

The vaccine is being developed in South Australia in collaboration with researchers from the University of Sydney. The vaccine uses a unique sugar adjuvant to utilise a patient’s own tumour protein to retrain the immune system, teaching it to target residual cancer cells.

Preclinical tests have significantly slowed tumour progression of brain and pancreatic cancers. A 12-month trial on dogs with a variety of cancers has just begun with support from the South Australian government.

Lead researcher Chris Weir from the University of Sydney said the adjuvant had streamlined Radvax’s effectiveness without resulting in any adverse effects preclinically.

“There are a lot of cancer vaccines but they either target specific tumour types, are too complicated or too expensive,” he said.

“It’s a next-generation cancer vaccine that uses the new adjuvant to become more targeted and enhances immune response.”

Dr Weir said although Radvax had only been tested on a few cancers, the results demonstrated its potential for others.

The process of creating the vaccine takes about an hour where a sample of a tumour is extracted from each patient before surgery.

The vaccine is then primed and injected into the patient shortly after the procedure. It enables the patient’s T-cells to target residual cancer cells, preventing them from returning or spreading.

The nature of Vaxine’s delta-inulin polysaccharide adjuvant called Advax makes it less toxic than other metal-based adjuvants and effective without the addition of a stimulant.

Radvax is stored at a cool 4°C, making it easier to deliver than many other frozen vaccines.

Vaxine Scientific Director and Professor at Flinders University School of Medicine Nikolai Petrovsky said the dog safety trials would end in the middle of next year and the company would aim to make it available for human trials shortly after.

He said although there was already an FDA-approved cancer vaccine in the United States, it costs about US$100,000 per patient and is specific to prostate cancer.

“This vaccine could be closer to just a few thousand and is more easily generalised,” he said.

“We are some way away from being able to cure cancer, but the results suggest the vaccine could significantly reduce cancer growth and thereby extend survival.

“Cancer vaccines are no longer hot air or speculation and it’s all about putting it into a simple form and having them be really effective.”

Vaxine is funded by the US National Institutes of Health to develop polysaccharide adjuvants that have played a vital role in the development of a range of vaccines for infectious diseases, allergies and cancers.

However, the company is looking for more funding to help fast-track the commercialisation of the cancer vaccine.

Vaxine has previously used Advax to develop the world’s first swine flu vaccine during the 2009 pandemic. It is also active on other fronts including Ebola, Zika virus, influenza, hepatitis, malaria and SARS.

This is a modified version of a story published by The Lead South Australia under Creative Commons.

Original Article: Aus cancer vaccine closer to human trials

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