It's about time for data lock.
It's about time for data lock.
Quote:Hello, my name is Linda Powers. I’m the CEO of Northwest Biotherapeutics. Our company is developing personalized immune therapies for cancer. Particularly brain cancer. We’re very pleased to be able to support ABTA’s Annual Meeting 2020, and we think ABTA’s work in the field is super important, super helpful for the whole field.
I’d like to take about five minutes to just talk about three subjects that I think may be of interest to folks. Firstly, the key challenge for immune therapy is in trying to treat solid tumor cancers. Secondly, I’d like to describe a little bit about some of the key elements of the immune system, the human immune system, that offer a real opportunity for, we believe, powerful treatments for cancers. And thirdly, I’ll describe a little bit about our particular approach with our DCVax technology. I will flag, right from the beginning, we’re very excited because just in the next couple weeks, later this month of September, we will be expecting to UNBLIND, UNVEIL, and ANNOUNCE, **finally,** the results of our THIRTEEN YEAR LONG PHASE THREE TRIAL OF DCVAX FOR GLIOBLASTOMA BRAIN CANCER. And we think this study is going to be a major contribution to the field in terms of data, and we certainly hope to be able to bring a new treatment option to patients. So please stay tuned to see those clinical trial results in just a few weeks.
So the key challenge for immune therapies, and really for other therapies too, in trying to treat solid tumors is that they are so highly, highly variable. Solid tumors comprise the vast majority of all cancers. These are tumors in any tissue of the body, as opposed to blood cancers or lymphomas. And the variability, the heterogeneity, is really at all levels. Firstly of course, there’s a lot of variations among cancers: brain cancer is different than lung or colon cancer. There’s also extensive variations among patients, even who have the same cancer. For example, breast cancer or brain cancer, the patient may have MGMT methylated or unmethylated. They may have an IDH mutation or not. So (there are) variations among patients. They are even variation within a single patient the disease progresses over time. And strikingly, even a lot of variation within a single tumor in a single patient at a single moment in time. If you take a biopsy from one part of a single tumor, you may get a very different profile than a biopsy from a different part of the tumor.
A challenge, because most cancer therapies have taken the approach of precision targeting, and trying to be as laser precision-focused as possible with a single activated agent, and a single target on the cancer. Kind of a silver bullet approach. But the tumor can mutate and escape from that. So nature has built in an immune system that’s really well structured to help stop these tumors and treat them. So you have the innate arm of the immune system, and the adaptive arm. And they are complimentary to each other. The innate one, the innate arm is your first responders. They’re rapid responders within hours or days. Those immune cells are basically born with a built in library to recognize things that are bad… bacteria, virus, tumors, etc.
The adaptive immune system follows on and takes longer, weeks or months, or even longer, to respond. And here, we particularly focus on the T-cells, a very important foot soldier… both helper T-cells and killer T-cells. Although, of course, we have the B cells and antibodies as well. But importantly, over the top of all of this is the master immune cell… the master cell of the immune system called a dendritic cell. Sort of the general of the army. The job of the dendritic cell is to identify anything bad in the patient’s body, pick up the information, process it, and present it to all of these other immune players, immune agents, in the immune army, so that they’re all activated to attack those bad things that the dendritic cell identifies. The dendritic cell is actually very efficient at doing this. The dendritic cell, when it picks up the information about the tumor or the pathogen, presents it to the T-cells, for example, and activates the T-cells to spread out, fan out, throughout the whole body looking for the bad thing to attack. And each one dendritic cell mobilizes hundreds of T-cells, both large numbers of T-cells and diverse T-cells to attack different biomarkers or antigens on the tumors or other pathogen or “bad thing.”
So the approach that we’re taking in DCVax is FOLLOWING NATURE'S SYSTEM. We’re using the dendritic cell as the active agent, and having the dendritic cell mobilize all of those immune agents to work together to attack the tumor. In addition, it’s fully personalized. We use the patient’s own immune cells and the patient’s own tumor tissue sample. So we know that we’re getting the right version of the targets on the cancer, and we don’t have a Russian roulette issue about whether the patient’s does or doesn’t express the target as cancer drugs typically have that issue.
And lastly, we use the full set of tumor biomarkers, or tumor targets. It’s not just one or a few, or five or six. This makes it as difficult as possible for the tumor to escape. And so with this combination, (with) many weapons hitting many targets, we’ve seen very encouraging results in our early stage trials, mid stage trials, and compassionate use. So please stay tuned for the results of our phase three trial. We’re really hoping to be able to bring this as a new treatment option for patients in the field. Thanks so much.