LIGHTNING RELEASES: BOSTON, MA (12/10/2013) – CureLab Oncology, a Boston-based research center, has developed a breakthrough broad spectrum DNA anti-cancer vaccine which has demonstrated high efficacy in decreasing tumor size and growth, inhibits the primary tumor and metastatic process, and significantly prolongs survival with no toxicity (as is common with chemotherapy). The new drug, called Elenagen®TM, was also featured in the October issue of Oncotarget, a leading international cancer research and peer reviewed publication.
Oncotarget highlights the groundbreaking results in preclinical testing of Elenagen®TM on breast and lung cancer, melanoma and sarcoma models – where the new drug either completely prevented or significantly delayed the growth of tumors. Of note, even in the breast cancer cases where tumors did grow, overall survival increased by as much as two times with Elenagen®TM.
CureLab Oncology’s work towards a human vaccine is continuing with human clinical trials beginning in early 2014 as well as a companion veterinary product available in 2014-2015.
Elenagen®TM also demonstrated strong efficacy in these same cancer models in decreasing both the number of small and large metastases – thus suppressing the metastatic process. This is particularly significant, as it is the metastasis and cancer relapse which usually kills patients and not the primary tumor.
Elenagen®TM is the only anti-cancer DNA vaccine based on a novel target protein, p62 — the main component of intracellular machinery known as autophagy. While autophagy serves as a ‘cleaning machine’ for normal cells, cancer cells manage to hijack this machinery to protect themselves against chemotherapy, radiation therapy, as well as the defense mechanisms of the body.
CureLab Oncology scientists report that oncogenes that cause the transformation of normal cells into cancerous ones also cause overproduction of p62. This led to the development of the solution, which was simply stated by CureLab Oncology founder Dr. Alex Shneider, “Let’s use the dzu-dzhitsu approach and turn a tumor’s strength into its weakness by making a genetic vaccine which would target the tumor exactly based on the fact that it possesses too much p62.”
This novel mechanism of action makes Elenagen®TM a broad spectrum anti-cancer vaccine that has been proven effective across a wide range of cancers.It also differs from current DNA vaccines that have been approved (for animal, not human use) that are targeting proteins specific to a particular type of tumor only.
Another important benefit that p62 targeting provides to Elenagen®TM is that cancer cells cannot ‘escape’ an immune response, which greatly minimizes the chance of a tumor relapse as a result of not fully addressing the cancer threat in its entirety. Indeed, one of the main concerns of cancer vaccinologists is that a vaccine would apply selective pressure on rapidly mutating cancer cells. Therefore, if a vaccine is targeting only a specific protein within cancer cells, pretty soon the cells lacking this protein would be selected after the initial vaccine treatment. The result is these cells will reconstitute the tumor, which the vaccine would not be able to target any more.
However, it is widely know that if cancer cells lose p62 and it is eliminated, that they lose the ability to form tumors and cannot do so any longer. Also, even if Elenagen®TM would eliminate all cancer cells possessing p62 and re-populate the tumor with cells, which lost p62 to escape a vaccine treatment, this p62 negative tumor would be responsive to radiation and chemotherapy as well as other conventional treatments. Preclinical tests clearly demonstrate the efficacy of this approach.
While several immune modulators like anti-CTLA-4 have been utilized and a specific anti- melanoma DNA vaccine (Oncept) is being used for veterinary applications, Elenagen®TM is the first drug to finally open the door to the promise of a broad spectrum DNA anti-cancer vaccine with minimal toxicity, immunological memory and use in both a preventive and therapeutic manner.
The CureLab Oncology effort was undertaken by a consortium of experts and scientists worldwide, including those company researchers based in Boston, researchers from Boston University, University of Camerino (Italy), as well as leading research institutes from Russia and Ukraine. All of them became the authors of the paper published by Oncotarget.
About CureLab Oncology
CureLab Oncology is committed to overcoming the worldwide problem of cancer by developing a new generation of novel anti-cancer immunostimulants and vaccines. The company’s research center is based in Massachusetts, with a subsidiary in Russia, and an international consortium of leading scientists and laboratories in Europe, Russia and the United States. CureLab Oncology has partnered for DNA vaccine manufacturing with Aldevron, the world’s first and largest commercial producer of DNA vaccines.
Contact: Jeff East, EVP CureLab Oncology 781-366-3093