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Asterias Biotherapeutics, Cancer Research UK, and Cancer Research Technology partner for clinical trial of immunotherapy vaccine for the treatment of lung cancer.
BioTime (add location) announced on Sept. 11, 2014 that its subsidiary Asterias Biotherapeutics reached an agreement with Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Technology (CRT), the charity’s development and commercialization arm, to conduct a clinical trial of Asterias’ novel immunotherapy treatment AST-VAC2 in subjects with non-small cell lung cancer. AST-VAC2 is a non-patient specific (allogeneic) cancer vaccine designed to stimulate patients’ immune systems to attack telomerase, a protein that is expressed in more than 95% of cancers but is rarely expressed in normal adult cells.
Unlike autologous (patient specific) vaccines that are developed from a patient’s own cells, AST-VAC2 is derived from human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), meaning it can be produced on a large scale and stored ready for use, rather than having to produce a specific version of the drug for each patient.
The trial of AST-VAC2 will evaluate the safety and toxicity of the vaccine, feasibility, stimulation of patient immune responses to telomerase and AST-VAC2, and clinical outcome after AST-VAC2 administration in patients with resected early-stage lung cancer and in patients with advanced forms of the disease.
Asterias will complete development of the manufacturing process for AST-VAC2. Cancer Research UK will produce the vaccine and conduct the phase 1/2 clinical trial in the United Kingdom.