Immunicum, which is developing cancer vaccines, has received approval from the Swedish Medical Products Agency to start its first clinical trial. The study will be conducted on kidney cancer patients at the University Hospital in Uppsala. At the same time, the company secures substantial financing to complete the clinical trial.
- It's a big and important step to test the vaccine on humans for the first time. Our animal studies have shown good results, so we feel safe to continue, says Jamal El-Mosleh, CEO of Immunicum.
Immunicum's patented cancer vaccine is based on over 20 years of research in the field of transplantation immunology and activates the body's own immune system to attack tumor cells. The Nobel Prize in Medicine was recently awarded the discoverer of dendritic cells and their role in immunological reactions, the same type of cells that Immunicum bases its vaccines on.
- However, our vaccines differ from other cancer vaccines. Traditionally, dendritic cell-based cancer vaccines are made from patients' own cells. This means that each vaccine must be specially made for each patient, which is expensive, complex and takes time. Moreover, it is physically stressful for the patient who is seriously ill, says Jamal El-Mosleh.
Immunicum's vaccine is based on using dendritic cells from healthy individuals and can thus be mass-produced, leading to significant commercial advantages.
The vaccine has been tested in animal studies to examine its therapeutic effect and tumors were reduced in both weight and volume. Toxicity studies have also been conducted to investigate possible side effects, especially with a focus on autoimmune diseases. The study showed no evidence of adverse side effects.
Through the green light from the Medical Products Agency, a clinical phase I/II trial will be initiated within the next few months on twelve patients with metastatic renal cancer. To finance the trial, Immunicum secures the largest capital injection in the company's history through a successful new share issue.
- The study will last for about a year and we will evaluate both safety and efficacy of the vaccine, says Jamal El-Mosleh.