Company's prostate cancer vaccine close to moving forward



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BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Officials at a Baton Rouge-based pharmaceuticals company believe the firm is close to commercializing a vaccine for prostate cancer.

An FDA-approved Phase 1 trial of the ProscaVax vaccine, developed by OncBioMune Pharmaceuticals Inc., is nearing completion at the University of California-San Diego to make sure the vaccine is safe for people, The New Orleans Advocate reported (http://bit.ly/1ORKr6j).

Next year, Harvard Health System will perform a Phase 2 trial, to show whether the vaccine is effective.

OncBioMune CEO Jonathan Head said if the vaccine is licensed, the company will be able to fund the research for other cancers that now lack good therapies.

Dr. Lynn Schuchter, chairwoman of the American Society of Clinical Oncology's Cancer Research Committee and chief of hematology oncology at the University of Pennsylvania, said researchers have been trying to get cancer vaccines to work for more than 50 years with little success.

"The idea is to somehow modify the cancer cells so they're recognized by the immune system as foreign," Schuchter said.

Head said OncBioMune has seen good results so far in the FDA-approved Phase 1 trial at UC-San Diego. There will be a total of 20 patients in the Phase 1 trial. The Phase 2 trial will include 120 patients: 80 who will receive the vaccine and 40 who won't.

OncBioMune is about 18 months away from licensing agreements or discussions of them, Andrew Kucharchuk, president and chief financial officer, said.

"There are thousands of little biotechs, but we've reached a certain milestone that only hundreds have," Kucharchuk said.

According to the American Cancer Society, in 2015, an estimated 220,800 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States.

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Information from: The New Orleans Advocate, http://www.neworleansadvocate.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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