Personalized cancer vax heads to trial

A cancer vaccine developed at the University of Arizona's Steele Children's Research Center is ready to enter human clinical trials. For the past 13 years, Emmanuel Katsanis, professor of pediatrics at the UA College of Medicine, has been researching this vaccine, which will help keep cancer in remission. This research has led to the development of a cancer vaccine called chaperone-rich cell lysate, but the product will not be given to people to prevent cancer. "It's more of a therapeutic vaccine," Katsanis says. The goal of the CRCL vaccine is to "educate the immune system," he adds.

After being diagnosed with cancer, patients normally receive chemotherapy. The treatment is effective in killing most cancer cells, and the disease often goes into remission. But some cancer cells remain in the body. When these cancer cells return, they are more resistant to treatment. The vaccine stimulates the immune system to recognize and remove cancer cells, according to the Arizona Wildcat.

Roughly two years ago, Immunovative Therapies purchased an exclusive license to the chaperone protein patent held by the UA's Steele Center. Immunovative has been working to convert Katsanis' chaperone protein technology to comply with cGMP, required before beginning human clinical trials. The new vaccine product, which combines CRCL and AlloStim, is called AlloVax and is designed to treat patients with newly diagnosed blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

The vaccine will be customized for each patient. Before receiving chemotherapy, a sample of the patient's tumor will be used to create the vaccine. After treatment, the vaccine will help keep the cancer in remission. If successful, the vaccine can be used to treat most types of cancer.

- check out the coverage in the Arizona Wildcat
learn more about AlloVax
- read about the 2008 Immunovative deal