An Israeli biotech company is developing a vaccine for cancer that it says can help prevent the return of the lethal disease for 90% of the different types of cancer.
Vaxil BioTherapeutics based in Nes Ziona has been developing ImMucin for more than five years, and already has seen strong success in testing indicating it can be a vital tool in combating cancer. The disease kills eight million people worldwide per year, and sees 14 million new cases diagnosed annually according to the World Health Organization.
"Vaxil is developing a drug to keep the cancer from coming back," Vaxil's CFO Julian Levy told NoCamels. "We are trying to harness the natural power of the immune system to fight against cancer by seeking out cancer cells and destroying them."
ImMucin is not intended to replace chemotherapy or other traditional cancer treatments, but rather is meant to halt the development of the disease at less intense periods of the process, during early stages of detection and remission.
Remarking on the concept of a cancer vaccine, Levy said "many preventative cancer vaccines today are not actual vaccines against cancer. Young women can take a vaccine for the HPV virus, which doesn’t combat cancer; it’s a vaccine against a virus that has been proven to lead to a more serious cervical cancer."
So how does ImMucin work?
The vaccine stimulates a certain part of the immune system, developing it to attack specific cells with markers indicating cancer. When used in early stages of cancer, the vaccine is expected to train the immune system to destroy the right cells as cancer develops and fight the disease.
Until last January the company focused its experiments on Multiple Myeloma patients, but then shifted to breast cancer patients. It may be some time before the vaccine sees its way onto the market though, with Levy expecting a release by 2020 at the latest.