Led by Global Medical Director Michael Bayer, M.D., Ph.D., the study called for 8 patients with Stage IV hepatocellular carcinoma to receive the Company’s patient-specific cancer immunotherapy, known as "DC-TC." Study patients received weekly injections for three consecutive weeks and were evaluated over a two-month period.
CSC's "DC-TC" therapy begins with growing cancer stem cells that have been isolated from a patient's resected tumor sample, which are then enriched and inactivated. This newly created cancer stem cell line is then combined with dendritic cells, a type of antigen-presenting immune cell that is derived from the same patient's blood. The product is then introduced back into the patient via a series of subcutaneous injections.
This initial study sought to determine whether patients could safely receive the “DC-TC” product without experiencing adverse events, which could serve as an indication that the therapeutic product was safe for further research in human patients. The study also sought to explore whether the immune-activating process might create complications in trial patients who also had active hepatitis B.
"In China, a nation with the largest incidence rates for liver cancer in the world, many patients will co-present with hepatitis B. Initially there was some concern that these patients might experience flare-up of their hepatitis as the immune system was strengthened and directed to kill their cancer stem cells; however, those concerns proved to be unwarranted." said Dr. Bayer.
In addition to demonstrating initial safety of the cell therapy product among the initial patient cohort, this trial demonstrated the successful transfer of CSC’s manufacturing technology to a remote manufacturing facility under its control, which the company considers a critical component in future trials using this approach. Manufacture of the patient-specific product for the trial was conducted by CSC under cGMP conditions.
"We were very encouraged by these early clinical and operational results. Not only were the initial results promising, but the trial represented a successful first step in California Stem Cell’s goal of translating its platform cancer stem cell treatment to other cancer types. We expect this successful experience and the data collected will serve us well as we expand into other solid tumor cancers." said CEO Hans Keirstead, Ph.D.
About the DC-TC Treatment
CSC’s DC-TC treatment is based on recent clinical findings that the rapid proliferation and subsequent spreading of cancer throughout a patient’s body may be fueled by a small number of cancer stem cells. Through proprietary processes developed at CSC, researchers have refined isolation and expansion of these cancer stem cells to clinically useful numbers, which are then combined with autologous dendritic cells, and reintroduced into the patient with the intention of training and bolstering the patient’s immune system to target the cancer stem cells that have the ability to metastasize and create new tumors.