Patent issued for cancer vaccine component

ImmunoCellular Therapeutics, Ltd. announced on Wednesday that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued the company a patent for cancer immunotherapy using the interleukin 13-receptor alpha 2 protein.

IL-13 is an immune regulatory cytokine and IL-13R2 is expressed in glioblastoma and in other types of tumors, including ovarian and brain cancer. It is absent, however, from normal tissue.

ImmunoCellular's lead product, ICT-107, targets IL-13R2 and glioblastoma antigens and cancer stem cells. ImmunoCellular also developed ICT-140, a vaccine which targets ovarian cancer. Both vaccines are dendritic.

"IL-13R2 is a tumor-associated antigen present in the majority of brain cancers, and we believe that using an immunotherapeutic vaccine that targets this and other specific antigens as well as cancer stem cells to stimulate an immune response represents a promising anticancer approach," ImmunoCellular CEO Andrew Gengos said.

The Penn State Research Foundation holds the patent for IL-13R2 and licensed it to Targepeutics, Inc., with ImmunoCellular as a sub-licensee. ImmunoCellular is a company that strives to find immune-based therapies to treat cancers.

ImmunoCellular is at the phase II trial of ICT-107. It is currently developing other vaccines to target ovarian cancer and cancer stem cells.