Scancell Holdings - SCANCELL'S SKIN CANCER VACCINE TRIAL RESULTS - Here is a useful and...

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Here is a useful and informative post from Alan Turing, a poster with a good scientific background who writes on LSE's Scancell Chat. He is commenting on the recent Phase 1 results for Scancell's lead vaccine to treat melanoma, SCIB1:


Well they were pretty astonishing really. Firstly because they were only measuring a group of patients in a study to test for toxicity, so there were only a few patients who actually received the vaccine at full strength.

The key 'stand out' was the tumour shrinkage in the patient with lung metastases. Dendritic cell vaccines have never before shrunk tumours without a toxic additive. Gp100 for instance was the first dendritic cell vaccine that was said, with much fanfare, to shrink tumours but only with the addition of the highly toxic Interleukin 2 (which defeats the purpose of using a non-toxic dendritic cell vaccine in my book). But previously without this additive Gp100 showed no signs of being able to shrink tumours. This is the most important achievement so far by SCIB1. It now has to repeat this in the proposed 8mg dose trial. If this tumour shrinking capability is confirmed then SCIB1 will have outdone all previous dendritic cell vaccines.

This extra power may be a result of its DNA delivery. The ImmunoBody vaccine consists of strands of DNA which are like a computer program. This DNA program is processed by the patient's healthy cells very much like a computer. Tens of thousands of antibodies are produced by the patient as instructed by Scancell's DNA program. Each antibody is shaped like a Y and on one of the arms of the Y is a 'pretend' cancer chemical unique to the cancer being treated. These antibodies, which in SCIB1's case, 'smell' like melanoma, stick to the surface of the immune system's sentinel cells (dendritic cells). They go crazy. To them they are covered in a foreign material that should definitely not be there. They then charge in their thousands to warn the immune system that something foreign has entered the body that needs to be searched for and destroyed. The immune system's army of T cells is dispatched. First the sappers, the Helper T-cells. They find the tumours and mark out a killing zone and change the blood chemistry inside this zone to make the tumours easier to kill. Then come the commandos, the Killer T-Cells to burst and destroy the tumours there.

This is so far ahead of what Dendreon does, Scancell's main competitor, that I suppose its no wonder that it achieved these promising results, albeit in just one particular patient. All eyes should be on the upcoming 8mg tumour trial, because so far, apart from its non-patient specific capability, the ability to shrink and eradicate tumours unaided is Scancell's most thrilling achievement. They have the pharmaceutical industry's attention for sure. Now they must show that they can repeat this success. I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

The market potential for dendritic cell vaccines is considerable. Scancell's vaccine is the only DNA (non-patient specific) version that has been shown to elicit an immune response. So if I was a buyer for a large pharmaceutical company looking for a dendritic cell vaccine to enter that sector of the market I would definitely choose Scancell's product first. The ability to shrink tumours is a unique one among this class of therapuetics so whatever this vaccine achieves on that front would be a bonus.