Targeting cancer STEM cells (finally!)

Dr. Weeks’ Comment:  As companies begin to make money targeting cancer STEM cells  –  “a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells” (see below) –   we will all be told (finally) that cancer STEM cells, as opposed to cancer TUMOR cells, are the lethal aspect of cancer.  

This is the subject of numerous lectures I have given to medical colleagues and is what top cancer researchers are teaching today. However, until Big Phama can make a profit targeting cancer STEM cells,  doctors will be told to continue targeting cancer TUMOR cells – even though Dr. Wicha warns “chemotherapy and radiations make your cancer worse“.  A recent article from NATURE claims the same and adds that anti-inflammatory agents are the answer.  That is not news – aspirin itself has proven beneficial.  SO, what is the safest and most powerful anti-inflammatory agent?  The main ingredient in SOUL – black cumin seed.



OncoMed Doses First Patient in Phase 1 Clinical Trial of Novel Anti-DLL4/VEGF Bispecific Antibody



REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan. 5, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq:OMED), a clinical-stage company developing novel therapeutics that target cancer stem cells (CSCs), or tumor-initiating cells, today announced dosing of the first patient in its anti-DLL4/VEGF bispecific antibody (OMP-305B83) Phase 1a clinical trial. The anti-DLL4/VEGF bispecific antibody is designed to have both anti-cancer stem cell and anti-angiogenic activity.

“This is the sixth novel product candidate discovered by OncoMed researchers and the second product from our multi-billion dollar collaboration with Celgene to be advanced to the clinic by our development team,” said Paul J. Hastings, OncoMed’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “This antibody leverages the clinical experience gained with our anti-DLL4 antibody, demcizumab, which has demonstrated encouraging early signs of clinical activity in Phase 1b clinical trials.”

Jakob Dupont, M.D., OncoMed’s Chief Medical Officer, added, “The combined inhibition of DLL4 and VEGF with this bispecific has demonstrated robust preclinical activity against a number of solid tumor types. In this trial, we look forward to establishing a suitable dose and exploring this antibody’s safety and initial efficacy. We also plan to advance this bispecific antibody to Phase 1b trials, in combination with standard of care in select solid tumors.”

The single-agent Phase 1a trial is enrolling patients with advanced refractory solid tumors. The open-label dose-escalation study is designed to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and initial evidence of efficacy of the anti-DLL4/VEGF bispecific antibody. The trial is being conducted at four sites in the United States.

The bispecific antibody was discovered using OncoMed’s proprietary MAbTrap antibody display technology, which enables the rapid identification of monoclonal antibodies that bind targets with high affinity and specificity.  The antibody is the first program based on OncoMed’s BiMAb bispecific platform technology, which enables bispecific antibodies with traditional antibody shape, to enter clinical testing. In preclinical studies OncoMed’s anti-DLL4/VEGF bispecific antibody demonstrated robust in vivo anti-tumor efficacy across a range of solid tumor xenografts, including colon, lung and pancreatic cancers, among others. The bispecific antibody delayed tumor recurrence following termination of chemotherapy, and decreased the frequency of cancer stem cells. Further, dual inhibition of DLL4 and VEGF appears to exhibit synergistic anti-tumor activity at doses where blockade of either target alone elicited sub-optimal activity.

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