- 41,000 women in the U.S. are expected to die of breast cancer in 2018
- BriaCell is developing a breast cancer drug that can be quickly prepared for individualized treatment
- Clinical trials demonstrate tumor shrinkage with no serious side effects
- BriaCell is now in clinical trials with its lead immunotherapy treatment, tested in combination with other already-approved cancer fighting drugs
- Immunotherapy drugs are expected to be a $100 billion business by 2021
Breast cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death for U.S. women. Although death rates from this disease have been falling since 1989, still in 2018 nearly 41,000 Americans are expected to die of breast cancer. BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. (OTCQB: BCTXF) (TSX.V: BCT), a biotechnology company developing targeted, safe treatments for cancer, is working on the first personalized off-the-shelf immunotherapy drug for advanced breast cancer.
Immunotherapy drugs, which use a patient’s own immune system to target and destroy cancer cells, are expected to become a $100 billion annual business by 2021. Previous research has produced personalized immunotherapies that allow physicians to tailor treatment to the individual cancer patient for more effective response against the disease and fewer side effects. However, each dose of these immunotherapies must be individually manufactured – a long and expensive process.
BriaCell seeks to avoid the time, cost and complex manufacturing process of other personalized immunotherapy by developing an off-the-shelf treatment that can be quickly prepared for each individual patient to safely and effectively kill tumor cells. Development of the company’s technology is based on positive results from recent proof of concept studies of the company’s lead clinical candidate, Bria-IMT, in heavily pretreated advanced breast cancer patients (http://nnw.fm/U5eiu).
BriaCell’s research is aimed at producing a personalized breast cancer treatment that can be identified by a simple diagnostic test. Clinical trials of Bria-IMT demonstrated evidence that treatments cause tumors to shrink with no serious side effects – including tumors in other parts of the body in patients whose cancer has migrated. Safety and efficacy data for Bria-IMT appear superior to that of other approved drugs for treating breast cancer when they were at a similar stage of development. BriaCell, based on these results, is developing a diagnostic test, BriaDX, that will help the company select patients best suited for these treatments.
Based on the latest findings, BriaCell researchers expect Bria-IMT to work even better when used by advanced breast cancer patients in combination with certain cancer treatment drugs known as immune checkpoint inhibitors. The company is currently in clinical trials with Bria-IMT in combination with pembrolizumab, marketed by Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE: MRK), under the name Keytruda, and with ipilimumab, marketed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company (NYSE: BMY), under the trade name Yervoy (http://nnw.fm/QYox4).
Immune checkpoint inhibitors have become a focus in cancer research because of their significant results for some patients and with the Nobel committee awarding the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine to Drs. James Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their separate research into specific immune checkpoints (http://nnw.fm/yKu65).
“We believe that combination studies with immune checkpoint inhibitors should create even more potent anti-cancer immune responses, leading to our strategy of combination studies of Bria-IMT with Keytruda or Yervoy,” Dr. William Williams, BriaCell CEO, stated in a press release (http://nnw.fm/U5eiu). “In our view, the combination of Bria-IMT with Keytruda or Yervoy has the potential to provide a new therapeutic option and substantial clinical benefit in heavily pre-treated advanced breast cancer patients where there remains a significant unmet need.”
Based on its research results, the company is developing a second immunotherapy drug, Bria-OTS, an off-the-shelf personalized treatment that’s expected to be effective for 90 percent of the advanced breast cancer patient population. Bria-OTS is expected to go to clinical trials in 2019.
BriaCell Therapeutics Corp., based in Berkeley, California, and headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, is an immuno-oncology focused biotechnology company developing targeted and safe approaches for the management of cancer.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.BriaCell.com
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