Cancer vaccine approved for clinical trials in Lubbock

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Updated: 3/19/2014 11:02 am
A group of doctors who work at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center have established Kiromic, LLC.

"We're very excited about what the future holds," CEO Dr. Scott Dahlbeck said.

As the company's slogan reads, they feel they have the "key to cancer's cure."

"And the reason we feel that way is we discovered a new method to harness the patient's own immune system to fight cancer," Dr. Dahlbeck explained.

He said a major selling point for the treatment is that it is unique from chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

"This treatment actually targets the tumor and it does so in a way that should be safer and more natural to the patient because it uses their own immune system."

So here is how the process works...

"The protocols we have with the FDA, they're called dendritic vaccines. And what (we) do is we basically take the patients own white blood cells. We train those cells on how to attack the tumor. We inject them back into the patient. They fight the cancer and stimulate the patient's own immune system - to sort of wake up and be able to attack and fight the tumor."   

He said the vaccine's development is thanks in large part to the company's chief science officer, Dr. Maurizio Chiriva, who has been working in immunotherapy for 15 years. 

"We've found the proteins that are produced by the cells. We've isolated those, identified them, and now when can use them to diagnose the tumor as well as treat the tumor," Dahlbeck said.

The team was granted FDA approval more than a  month ago and is looking to begin clinical trials by May 1st.

"Number one, we want to make sure it's safe. Number two, we want to make sure that it works and that it has potential to cure. Then we will launch into phase three. And it will be compared to whatever is standard in care for that particular tumor type and we'll see which one's better."

Dahlbeck said about 20 local cancer patients will be involved in the first phase which should take less than a year.

Watch the attached video for more on this story.

Click here for Kiromic's website.
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