04 December 2013

Clinical studies of breast cancer cell therapy

Kill with your cells: Tomsk scientists have figured out how to treat breast cancer

Eleonora Chernaya, RIA NovostiTomsk company Biomedtech has started clinical trials of a new immunological method of treating breast cancer – using an autovaccine made from the biological material of the patient himself, director of the firm Sergey Volgushev told RIA Novosti on Wednesday.

He clarified that trials are currently being conducted with the participation of three women in Novosibirsk at the Research Institute of Clinical Immunology, and up to 50 volunteers are expected in total. The effectiveness of the method is predicted at the level of 40-60%.

"Train" cellsAccording to Volgushev, the autovaccine is prepared from the biological material of the person who will be treated with it.

At the same time, the word "vaccine" itself is rather conditional: autovaccines have nothing in common with flu vaccines, for example. "It's just a common name in the scientific literature," he said.

"When a woman gets into surgery, a breast tumor is surgically removed from her. We take the tumor, and we take the patient's blood. From the blood we get dendritic cells – cells of the immune system. Then we add lysates (suspensions from destroyed cells – ed.) of the tumor to them, and, so to speak, we "train" dendritic cells to work against specific tumor cells," explained the director of Biomedtech LLC.

The resulting autovaccine is administered to patients four times.

"Getting back into the woman's body, the trained cells transmit information to T-lymphocytes, the so-called killer cells, which begin to kill exactly the type of tumor for which they are "trained" – breast cancer. Our vaccine is designed to fight metastases, because only the tumor is surgically removed, and 85% of cancer patients die from metastases," says the specialist.

According to him, a similar technology is used by one of the foreign biotech companies.

"An American company has permission to use such technology. They are also vaccinated four times. The cost is 93 thousand dollars. We have four autovaccines that will cost about 80 thousand rubles," the director of the company said.

The first volunteersVolgushev clarified that clinical studies of breast cancer treatment with autovaccine have begun at the Research Institute of Clinical Immunology, which has its own immunopathology clinic.

The first results will be known in six months.

"On Monday, the first three women were taken for clinical trials. We do not have a drug, but a new technology, so we did not need to conduct long-term preclinical animal trials, as is done with medicines. At the stage of preclinical research, we worked with human cells in the laboratory," he said.

According to the expert, the use of autovaccine is safe for volunteers – since these are their own cells, there will be no rejections or side effects.

"Preclinical studies have shown the success rate of the method up to 40-60%. Abroad, they rejoice when they get 10-15% efficiency. It is clear that miracles do not happen, and we cannot give 100% efficiency. But 40-60% is a very good result," Volgushev believes.

The method of treating breast cancer with autovaccines was developed by Biomedtech specialists together with scientists from the Research Institute of Clinical Immunology. The work started in early 2013.

"According to the business plan, clinical trials should take place in a year and a half. Then there will be a procedure for obtaining permission to use the new medical technology from the Ministry of Health or the Federal Biomedical Agency. And then you can bring the method to the market, offering it as paid services," the director of the company explained.

He noted that about half a million rubles of the company's own funds have already been invested in the project. In November, Biomedtech LLC became one of the winners of the Tomsk Region administration's competition for subsidies of 500 thousand rubles among start-up small innovative enterprises. The company is currently looking for investors.

Everything is aheadIn turn, Nadezhda Cherdyntseva, deputy Director for Scientific Work of the Research Institute of Oncology of the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, explained to RIA Novosti that currently breast cancer is treated clinically by several methods – chemo, hormonal and radiation therapy, as well as surgical intervention.

"Autovaccine is not used as a standard method in clinical settings – it is still at the level of research, clinical trials. We do not treat with an autovaccine – this is not in the standards. Whether there will be prospects for this method of treatment will be shown by the research conducted by the developers," she said.

At the same time, the agency interlocutor expressed the opinion that the research of a new method in the Research Institute of Clinical Immunology is carried out by the company in accordance with international standards.

Portal "Eternal youth" http://vechnayamolodost.ru04.12.2013

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