Hope on the Horizon: Steele Center Cancer Vaccine Advances toward Clinical Trials

March 5, 2011

For more than 10 years, pediatric oncologist Emmanuel Katsanis, MD, professor of pediatrics, and his research team have been developing a cancer vaccine called CRCL (Chaperone Rich Cell Lysate). Now, the vaccine is heading toward its first clinical trial.

“We’re gratified to see our research progress,” says Dr. Katsanis. Immunovative Therapies, LTD, a cancer research-and-development company in Israel, purchased an exclusive license to the CRCL patent. The new vaccine product has been named AlloVax™, which is designed to treat patients with newly diagnosed blood cancers like leukemia, lymphoma and multiple myeloma.

When an individual develops a blood cancer, aggressive chemotherapy often can induce remission. Unfortunately, because these treatments are unable to eliminate all of the microscopic cancer cells, the cancer frequently returns. The returning cancers are deadly because they have developed a resistance to chemotherapy.

AlloVax™ is designed to “train” the cancer patient’s immune system to identify and eliminate the cancer cells in the patient’s blood, keeping the patient in remission without the need for additional treatment. Before an individual diagnosed with a blood cancer is treated with chemotherapy, a sample of the cancer is removed from his or her body. While receiving chemotherapy, the cancer sample is processed in the lab to extract the chaperone proteins.

“AlloVax is truly a personalized and novel vaccine designed to train the immune system to destroy cancer cells,” says Dr. Katsanis. “It is designed to keep you in remission after you have been treated with chemotherapy and/or radiation.”