Onyvax Presents Preliminary Phase II Data
on its Prostate Cancer Vaccine at American Association of Immunologists
Denver, CO, 6th May 2003 – Onyvax Ltd (London, UK),
the vaccine therapy company, today presented preliminary data
from its Phase IIa clinical trial in prostate cancer at Immunology
2003, the 90th Anniversary Annual Meeting of the American Association
of Immunologists (AAI).
Onyvax reported preliminary findings from the first 15 patients
in its Phase IIa study of Onyvax-P, a therapeutic cancer vaccine
designed to stimulate an immune response against tumour cells.
Immune activation in response to treatment was detected both
by an increase in cytokine production and by evidence of T-cell
Data presented at AAI show several patients with a statistically
significant decrease in the rate of Prostate Specific Antigen
(PSA) release, the widely used blood marker of disease progression.
The clinical study started in January 2002 and targets a total
of 48 patients with prostate cancer who failed hormone therapy
and have rising PSA levels. No approved treatment is currently
available for patients who have failed hormone therapy. All
study participants receive the vaccine therapy for a period
of 12 months and are followed for 12 months after. So far,
two patients have completed the 12 month treatment period without
any sign of disease progression. These are early findings and
Onyvax expects to publish more data later in 2003.
Onyvax-P contains three cell lines that represent different
stages of prostate cancer. The cell lines are irradiated and
so cannot grow or divide. Onyvax designed its vaccine to induce
a powerful immune response against a broad range of prostate
cancer-associated antigens without the severe side effects
often associated with conventional cancer therapies.
Onyvax will present pre-clinical data at the Annual Meeting
of the International Society for Cellular Therapy in Phoenix,
May 29th-June 1st, and further clinical data at the British
Cancer Research meeting July 2nd-5th in Bournemouth, UK.
“We are pleased to be presenting our data to these prestigious
scientific audiences,” said Anthony Walker, CEO of Onyvax. “We
are encouraged by the positive results we have seen so far
and anticipate releasing further data later this year.”
According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer
is the most common cancer among men in the US, with an estimated
220,900 new cases diagnosed each year. It is the second leading
cause of cancer death in American men, with about 28,900 deaths
per year, exceeded only by lung cancer. In the UK, some 21,000
men are diagnosed with prostate cancer per year and about 9,500
die of the disease annually. If detected early enough, prostate
cancer can be treated effectively by surgery or radiotherapy
while hormone therapy can control later stages of the disease.
No treatment is currently available for patients who have failed
hormone therapy, and median survival time for these patients
is approximately 13 months.
Onyvax is a biotechnology company developing novel cancer
therapies that harness the selective power of the immune system
to seek and destroy tumour cells.
Founded in 1997, Onyvax has three product candidates in clinical
trials designed for the treatment of prostate and other cancers.
Onyvax’s lead products are based on combinations of inactivated
cell lines that induce immune responses to a broad spectrum
of tumour targets. For each cancer type, Onyvax generates banks
of proprietary cell lines representative of different stages
of the disease. The vaccines are manufactured in bulk under
Onyvax is committed to the commercialisation of new therapies
that significantly prolong survival while maintaining a high
quality of life for cancer patients. The Company is based in
London and has collaborations with leading institutions in
Europe and the US.
Further information on Onyvax can be found at www.onyvax.com.
The American Association of Immunologists is the world’s
largest and most prestigious professional association of immunologists.
Its mission is to advance knowledge of immunology and related
disciplines, to foster interchange of ideas and information
among investigators in the various disciplines and to promote
understanding of the field of immunology. The AAI’s annual
scientific meeting draws thousands of delegates from around