Scancell Holdings Plc, (PLUS:SCLP), the developer of therapeutic cancer vaccines, today announces the enrolment and treatment of the first patient in its multicentre Phase I clinical trial of SCIB1, its DNA ImmunoBody® vaccine being developed for the treatment of melanoma. The trial will evaluate the safety and tolerability of SCIB1 in patients with late stage melanoma.
The trial, which is commencing on schedule, will be in nine, Stage IV or inoperable Stage III patients and is being conducted in three UK centres. All patients in the clinical trial will be treated with Scancell’s SCIB1 ImmunoBody® vaccine, delivered by Ichor Medical Systems’ TriGrid™ electroporation delivery device.
ImmunoBody® vaccines generate the high-avidity T-cells* that kill cancer cells, which may overcome the current limitations of most cancer vaccines. In vivo electroporation is widely regarded as an effective method of enhancing the potency of DNA vaccines by up to 100-fold compared to conventional methods of delivery.
Advanced melanoma currently has a very poor prognosis with late stage (stage IV) disease having a median survival of approximately six months. According to the World Health Organisation, 132,000 melanoma skin cancers occur globally each year and the incidence is increasing, especially in the United States, Europe and Australia.
Professor Lindy Durrant, CEO of Scancell Holdings and Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at Nottingham University, commented:
“This is the first time we will be taking the SCIB1 ImmunoBody® vaccine into patients with late stage melanoma and follows our very positive research studies with the vaccine against this deadly form of cancer. We are very excited about the prospects for SCIB1 and are very pleased that it has moved a step closer to becoming available for the treatment of cancer patients.”
Professor Poulam Patel, Lead Researcher, commented:
“Advanced melanoma is one of the most deadly cancers we have and there is an urgent need for new treatments. The data from the laboratories looks very promising and we’re very excited to take SCIB1 into the clinic.”
David Evans, Chairman of Scancell Holdings, commented:
“The beginning of enrolment in the Phase I trial for SCIB1 is a key milestone for Scancell and we are delighted that the Company is continuing in its progress.”
The Directors of the issuer accept responsibility for this announcement.
*High avidity T-cells – A type of white blood cell composed of CTL and Helper cells. CTL cells recognise and kill tumour or virally infected cells, Helper cells recognise and secrete molecules to alert the immune system to the presence of a tumour or virally infected cell. Avidity measures the strength of the T-cell interaction.
For further information contact:
Professor Lindy Durrant, CEO - Scancell Holdings Plc - +44 (0)207 245 1100
John Bick/Kirsty Corcoran - Hansard Communications - +44 (0)207 245 1100
Ross Andrews/Tom Rowley - Zeus Capital - +44 (0)161 831 1512
Scancell is developing novel therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases based on its groundbreaking ImmunoBody® technology platform. Scancell’s first cancer vaccine SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and is expected to enter clinical trials in 2010.
Treating cancer by vaccination allows small non-toxic doses of a vaccine to be administered to a patient, stimulating an immune response. Effective cancer vaccines need to target dendritic cells to stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system; the helper cell system where inflammation is stimulated at the tumour site; and the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells.
A limitation of many cancer vaccines currently in development is that they cannot specifically target dendritic cells in vivo. Several groups have demonstrated successful vaccination by growing dendritic cells ex vivo, pulsing them with tumour antigens and re-infusing them. However, this procedure is patient specific, time consuming and expensive. Scancell has developed its breakthrough patent protected ImmunoBody® technology to overcome these limitations.
An ImmunoBody® is a human antibody or fusion protein engineered to express helper cell and CTL epitopes from tumour antigens over-expressed by cancer cells. Antibodies are ideal vectors for carrying T cell epitopes from tumour antigens as they have long half-lives and can effectively target dendritic cells via their Fc receptors, allowing efficient stimulation of both helper and CTL responses.
The Immunobody® technology can be adapted to provide the basis for treating any tumour type and may also be of potential utility in the development of vaccines against hepatitis, HIV and other chronic infectious diseases.