PsiOxus launches human tests of cancer vaccine

PsiOxus Therapeutics began human clinical trials of its cancer vaccine ColoAd1--a highly potent anti-cancer therapeutic that destroys tumor cells at minute concentrations.

The company, whose investors include Imperial Innovations Group and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK), dosed a patient this week in Belgium. The U.K., Spain and Belgium all provided regulatory approvals to proceed with the study and PsiOxus will test ColoAd1 in 126 patients. Results are expected to emerge by the end of next year.

With the start of the early- and mid-stage trial dubbed Evolve, PsiOxus joins competitors, including Amgen ($AMGN), Jennerex and Transgene, in developing vaccines using oncolytic tumor viruses, which are pathogens that infect and destroy cancer cells, Bloomberg reports. The vaccine is injected into the bloodstream and delivered to cancer sites. Once there, it replicates inside the cancer cells and kills them. The infected cells produce thousands of copies of ColoAd1, which then spread to nearby cancer cells and kill them.

The trial is funded by a recent $34 million investment made by Imperial Innovations, SROne, Lundbeckfond Ventures and Invesco Perpetual, along with £1.8 million ($2.9 million) from Wellcome Trust.

"The Evolve study is a major milestone for both PsiOxus and ColoAd1 as we test a new form of anti-cancer agent with greatly improved selectivity for tumor cells in humans for the first time," PsiOxus CEO John Beadle said. "While there remains much work to be done, the Evolve study could forge a path to a new treatment option for patients with metastatic cancer. The advantage of this type of cancer vaccine is that the immune response will be specific for each patient's own personal cancer."

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