BERKELEY, Calif. and VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 14, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. (“BriaCell”) (TSX-V:BCT) (OTCQB:BCTXF), an immuno-oncology focused biotechnology company with a proprietary targeted immunotherapy technology, announced that it has engaged Akari Health, a leading health-care focused social media marketing company, to improve awareness of its lead product candidate, Bria-IMT™, as a potential safe and effective treatment option for advanced breast cancer, and build relationships with patient communities. These efforts are expected to improve patient enrollment in the ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial and the roll-over study.
Based in Boston, MA, Akari Health is a healthcare consulting group that advises clients on how to use social media and social networks. Alicia Staley, Chief Patient Officer of Akari Health, has in-depth knowledge of the power of online communities and provides direction to companies looking to build platforms to interact with consumers and patients in meaningful ways.
As a three-time cancer survivor, Alicia Staley, Chief Patient Officer of Akari Health, is committed to improving other cancer patients’ experiences by sharing her valuable knowledge in managing and navigating through various treatment options for cancer care, as well as advocating for cancer patients. She shares her passion and enthusiasm for helping the cancer community by contributing to the Awesome Cancer Survivor community, and the Breast Cancer Social Media (BCSM) Community, a volunteer organization dedicated to empowering those affected by breast cancer through programs that provide evidence-based information in a supportive and compassionate manner. She regularly speaks at conferences throughout the US. She has presented at Livestrong’s Rev2014, American Society for Breast Surgeons Annual Meeting, South by South West Interactive Conference (SXSWi), 140 Boston, and Social Media for Pharma. As an inspirational speaker, Alicia reaches many different audiences, providing insight into life as a 27+ year cancer survivor.
“We are impressed with Ms. Alicia Staley’s in-depth knowledge and motivation to improve the experience of breast cancer patients, and plan to use her expertise to improve the patient community’s awareness of Bria-IMT™ as a leading technology and potentially a safe and effective treatment option for advanced breast cancer,” stated Dr. William Williams, BriaCell’s President & CEO. “In today’s competitive business world, social media marketing is critical in building business and patient community relationships. We look forward to working with Akari Health that is known for its top social marketing expertise to ultimately accelerate patient recruitment and retention in the current Phase I/IIa clinical trial and the roll-over study,” Dr. Williams added.
BriaCell is an immuno-oncology focused biotechnology company developing a targeted and safe approach to the management of cancer. Immunotherapy has come to the forefront in the fight against cancer, harnessing the body’s own immune system in recognizing and selectively destroying cancer cells while sparing normal ones. Immunotherapy, in addition to generally being more targeted and less toxic than commonly used types of chemotherapy, is also thought to be a potent approach with the potential to prevent cancer recurrence.
Bria-IMT™ (SV-BR-1-GM), the Company’s lead product candidate, is derived from a specific breast cancer cell line. It is genetically engineered to release granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), a substance that activates the immune system. We believe that Bria-IMT™ helps the body to recognize and kill tumor cells by activating T cells that attack the tumor and B cells that produce anti-tumor antibodies.
The results of two previous proof-of-concept clinical trials (one with the precursor cell line not genetically engineered to produce GM-CSF and one with Bria-IMT™) produced encouraging results in patients with advanced breast cancer. Most notably, one patient with metastatic breast cancer responded to Bria-IMT™ with substantial reduction in tumor burden including breast, lung, soft tissue and brain metastases. The company is currently conducting a Phase I/IIa clinical trial for Bria-IMT™ in patients with advanced breast cancer. This trial is listed in ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT03066947. The trial is being conducted along with the co-development of BriaDX™, the Company’s companion diagnostic test. The interim data for the first 10 patients is expected by the first quarter of 2018. Additionally, the FDA recently approved the roll-over combination study of Bria-IMT™ with pembrolizumab [Keytruda®; manufactured by Merck & Co., Inc.] or ipilimumab [Yervoy®; manufactured by Bristol-Myers Squibb Company] for patients previously treated with Bria-IMT™ in the Company’s ongoing Phase I/IIa clinical trial in advanced breast cancer. The roll-over trial is listed in ClinicalTrials.gov as NCT03328026.
BriaCell is also developing Bria-OTS™, an off-the-shelf personalized Immunotherapy. Bria-OTS™ consists of 14 individually pre-manufactured genetic alleles. BriaCell’s BriaDX™ companion diagnostic reveals a patient’s specific HLA-types and the 2 best matching alleles are administered to the patient. BriaCell’s 14 alleles (8 Class I and 6 Class II) cover approximately 90% of the Breast Cancer population while eliminating the complex manufacturing logistics required for other personalized immunotherapies. Bria-OTS™ is a personalized therapy without the need for personalized manufacturing.
Yet another item in the BriaCell pipeline is a novel, selective protein kinase C delta (PKCδ) inhibitor. PKCδ inhibitors have shown activity in a number of pre-clinical models of RAS genes’ transformed cancers including breast, pancreatic, non-small cell lung cancer and neuroendocrine tumors (such as carcinoid tumors).
For additional information on BriaCell, please visit our website: http://briacell.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
Except for the statements of historical fact, this news release contains “forward-looking information” within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation which involves known and unknown risks relevant to the Company in particular and to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries in general, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events to differ materially from current expectation. These risks are more fully described in the Company’s public filings available at www.sedar.com.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation, except to the extent required by law, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
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