Breast cancers and other epithelial malignancies are antigenic and elicit lymphocyte responses in the autologous host, and patients that express good host immunity to their tumor have better survival. Adequate host immunity is an independent prognostic indicator and those with poor immunity have shorter disease free intervals and shorter overall survival. The Company’s novel approach defines the tumor specific immune status of patients both pre and post immunotherapy that uses autologous tumor antigens to immunize patients. We have the ability to discriminate patients who are immunologically unreactive to tumor antigens and may be generally lymphocyte depressed from those who are tumor antigen reactive and lymphocyte competent. Thus those patients who are unreactive and in need of immunostimulation qualify for vaccination with specific tumor antigen .
We developed our vaccine in 1993 and then immediately began vaccinating patients with depressed immunity. We obtained the first patent on a breast cancer vaccine in the U.S.A. in 1994, and were the first to use the cytokines GM-CSF and IL-2 as biological adjuvants. Appropriate patients are vaccinated in the adjuvant setting and patients with advanced disease are treated with a combined chemo-immunotherapy protocol. Some of these patients have had dramatic responses.
The Company is presently devoting much research to the tumor stroma and microenvironment for a better understanding of tumor escape mechanisms. This will allow us the ability to better attack the tumor with specific adaptive immunotherapy. This work is in progress and early results are producing exciting results.