Immunotherapy Added to Radiotherapy May Help Overcome Resistance to Treatments

Treating cancers with immunotherapy and radiotherapy at the same time could stop them from becoming resistant to treatment, according to a new study. Combining the two modalities helped the immune system hunt down and destroy cancer cells that were not killed by the initial radiotherapy in mice with breast, skin, and bowel cancers. The approach was found to improve survival and protect the mice against the return of the disease. Radiotherapy is a very successful treatment for many forms of cancer. However, in cancer cells that it does not kill, it can switch on a flag on their surface called programmed death ligand 1 (PD-L1). PD-L1 tricks the body's defenses into thinking that cancerous cells pose no threat.
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Tens of Thousands Expected to get Ebola Vaccines From January

Tens of thousands of people in West Africa are expected to begin getting experimental Ebola vaccines from January, but population-wide immunisation is still far off, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday. Initial clinical trials of vaccines from GlaxoSmithKline and NewLink Genetics are already under way. Some 500 volunteers are due to take part in countries including the United States, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, Mali, Gabon and Kenya.

The tests will generate safety and immune-response data in December. The vaccines can then be rolled out early next year to groups including frontline healthcare workers, said Marie-Paule Kieny, the WHO assistant director-general for health systems and innovation.
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Canada to Ship Experimental Ebola Vaccine to World Health Organization

Canada said it would start shipping 800 vials of an experimental Ebola vaccine to the World Health Organization on Monday to combat the deadly viral outbreak in Africa. The WHO is the international coordinating body for the Ebola outbreak, which has claimed almost 4,500 lives, mostly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea. “Canada views this experimental Ebola vaccine as a global resource and in the interest of global public health, we are sharing it with our international partners to help address the Ebola outbreak in West Africa,” Canadian Health Minister Rona Ambrose said on Saturday.
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Roche, Merck extend immunotherapy fight to breast cancer

Swiss drugmaker Roche and U.S. group Merck & Co are to present data on their rival immunotherapy drugs in breast cancer in December, extending the novel approach to fighting tumors to another cancer type. Early clinical results with Roche's drug, known as MPDL3280A, in so-called triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) will be revealed at the Dec. 9-13 San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, the firm said after announcing third-quarter results. TNBC does not respond to either of two kinds of hormonal therapy or drugs that target HER2 receptors, such as Roche's own Herceptin.
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Selecta, JDRF, Sanofi Collaborate on SVP Immunotherapy for Type 1

Selecta Biosciences Inc., and JDRF, announced that they have extended their joint research collaboration and attracted Sanofi as a partner in support of their program to develop a Synthetic Vaccine Particle (SVP) immunotherapy with the long-term goal to treat and potentially prevent the underlying cause of type 1 diabetes. This collaborative research program is aimed at accelerating the advancement of an SVP immunotherapy designed to reset the immune system and restore tolerance to substances (antigens) that cause the immune attacks on insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Selecta’s proprietary tolerogenic SVP products show potential to re-educate the immune system to stop or suppress pro-inflammatory responses against a specific antigen, thereby halting the undesirable immune reaction without causing harmful global immune suppression common with general immune system modulating drugs.
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Astellas Dives into Gene Therapy with a Harvard Expert in Tow

Japan's Astellas Pharma is the latest big drugmaker allured by the promise of gene therapy, mounting an R&D effort that could lead to a new treatment for an inherited eye disease. The company has signed a deal with Harvard Medical School investigator and gene therapy expert Constance Cepko to collaborate on a gene therapy approach to retinitis pigmentosa (RP), a degenerative eye disease that can damage vision and lead to blindness. The plan is to investigate whether harmless adeno-associated virus (AAV) vectors can be used to deliver corrective genes to RP patients, Astellas said, in the process mapping out the mutations at the heart of the disease.
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Title: A Royalty-Free Way to Generate Functional Therapeutic Antibodies
Date: Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Time: 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM CDT

Space is limited! Reserve your Webinar Seat at:

This complimentary 45-minute presentation with Dr. John Thompson, of Aldevron, will be live and followed by a 15 minute Q&A session. Register today to reserve your seat or to receive notification of the available recording.
Click below to read the complete webinar description.
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Gene Therapy Effective to Treat ‘Bubble Boy’ Syndrome

An advance in gene therapy may provide safe treatment to children with a fatal genetic disorder that leads to no functioning immune system. The majority of children with X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency, or X-SCID, die before the age of one and must live in a "bubble" for protection. During a clinical trial, nine baby boys were given healthy versions of the faulty gene that codes for the disease.

Eight of the boys were still alive up to 43 months after the treatment. They have now been able to live a life outside an isolated, sterile room, or a "virtual bubble" of constant medication to try to prevent infections. The disease affects about one in 250,000 children in the UK. Scientists in the US, Britain and France led the clinical trial, which built upon an earlier study where a gene was transferred into children with X-SCID.
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Medigene Receives Patent for TCR-Modified T cell Immunotherapy in Australia

Genocea Biosciences, Inc. GNCA, a biopharmaceutical company developing T cell-directed vaccines and immunotherapies against serious infectious diseases, announced today the presentation of final data from the Phase 1/2a study of GEN-003, the company’s immunotherapy candidate for treatment of genital herpes. The oral presentation, titled “Therapeutic HSV-2 Vaccine (GEN-003) Results in Durable Reduction in Genital Lesions at 1 Year “, will be given on Saturday, Oct. 11 at IDWeek 2014™ in Philadelphia.
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UConn Researchers Develop Personalized Ovarian Cancer Vaccines

Researchers at the University of Connecticut have found a new way to identify protein mutations in cancer cells. The novel method is being used to develop personalized vaccines to treat patients with ovarian cancer. “This has the potential to dramatically change how we treat cancer,” says Dr. Pramod Srivastava, director of the Carole and Ray Neag Comprehensive Cancer Center at UConn Health and one of the principal investigators on the study. “This research will serve as the basis for the first ever genomics-driven personalized medicine clinical trial in immunotherapy of ovarian cancer, and will begin at UConn Health this fall,” Srivastava says.
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