Posts Tagged immunotherapy

Immunotherapy, Bioinformatics, Devices: EPPICon 2017 Preview


One of the latest most talked about buzzwords in cancer treatment is “immunotherapy” where body’s immune system is used to wage a war against the cancer cells. Cancer cells divide rapidly than ordinary cells and manage to evade the immune system. The focus of a range of immunotherapies is to put body’s immune system on high alert so it can easily locate and destroy cancer cells.

Image result for immunotherapy, bioinformaticsThis year, EPPICon (annual flagship conference at eppicglobal at will focus on Immunotherapy, Bioinformatics, and Devices. Another recent buzzword, “bioinformatics” focuses on harnessing technological advances for management and analysis of data, for cancer immunology and immunotherapy.  The hope is that more reliable and comprehensive picture can emerge of tumor genomics landscape and that can point a way towards more effective personalized medicine.

Immunotherapy often involves delivery of a cocktail of immune drugs to awaken the body’s immune system and put it in a “ready” mode to get rid of the cancer cells. Implantable devices can be used to provide regular dosages of medication for several days or everyday for a few weeks and can be used to make localized delivery.  This convergence of technologies makes it an interesting time for treatment of cancer and other diseases.  

EPPICon, EPPIC’s all day conference will be held on Saturday, March, 25th at Crowne Plaza, Burlingame, CA and has a fabulous lineup of keynotes, speakers, and panels.

Image result for Ira Mellman, genentechMorning keynote, Ira Mellman is VP of Cancer Immunology at Genentech and has an illustrious career in solving most profound health problems with strong research, grounded in science.  He spent 20 years at Yale University School of Medicine, prior to joining Genentech in 2007.  After the keynote, the conference program will continue with excellent speakers and panels with a special speed pitch session thrown in, where startups looking for funding will have an opportunity to pitch to a panel of investors and receive critical feedback, in real time. At the end of the day, 2017 “EPPIC Eleven” awards will be given out to chosen startups, from around the globe.

To register for the conference, please go to .

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Aduro’s Counter-Intuitive Approach to Treating Diseases with Bacteria

Stephen Isaacs, Chairman and CEO of Aduro BioTech, discussed Aduro’s approach to using a bacterial vector to stimulate the immune system to fight cancers and infectious diseases at Aduro BioTech is a clinical stage company with a platform technology based on the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes. Aduro modifies Listeria at the genetic level to make it safe for human use as both a therapeutic and prophylactic vaccine for treating cancer, infectious diseases and for protective vaccines against a number of organisms, including bioterror pathogens. Aduro is very clinically focused. Phase 1 trials have yielded very encouraging results. Analysis after the completion of the trial revealed a mesothelin-specific T cell response in multiple patients and expected survival was increased by several months. Particularly encouraging are results from sequential administration of GVAX cancer vaccines followed by CRS-207, which is the engineered strain of listeria that carries the antigen mesothelin. .

There are many advantages to listeria therapy. Listeria kick-starts the immune system and can be used for cancers and for infectious diseases. It stimulates broad immune potency, including innate and T-Cell responses, and therefore gives both innate immunity and adaptive T-cell immunity. Listeria can be given repeatedly, it avoids complex manufacturing, and there is no apparent long-term toxicity or long-term adverse effects. Listeria is applied through an IV and in current and future trials it has been approved as an outpatient procedure. Some short-term adverse effects are fever, chills, slight rise in BP, but these dissipate in 2-3 days. Aduro has bioengineered the Listeria (Lm) vector for human safety through key selective gene deletions. Intracellular localization of Lm activates key cell receptors, yields a high magnitude T-cell response and a high quality of T-cell response.

During an earlier study in 2007, with patients with tumors that expressed mesothelin, these patients showed specific T-cell immunity, but the earlier company was not able to continue the study, on account of funding issues. VCs had not seen the data on peak in immune response. Aduro was born in 2009 and has solid IP and has secured $29M in funding. On account of great synergy between listeria and other vaccine technologies, particularly GVAX where listeria can boost it and render it more effective, there is interest from other cancer therapeutic companies. Aduro is a platform technology with several products in the pipeline funded through NIH, SBIR and other grants. Aduro is conducting a Phase 2 trial of the sequential administration of GVAX Pancreas and CRS-207. The trial is taking place at multiple academic centers across the U.S. For more information, please see the listing at The presentation was followed by Q&A.

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