News Column

OncoSec Medical Reveals New Data at PEGS: The Essential Protein Engineering Summit in Boston

May 16, 2014

OncoSec Medical Inc., a company developing its ImmunoPulse DNA- based immunotherapy to treat solid tumors, on May 5 presented preliminary experimental findings demonstrating that electroporation with DNA-based IL-12 in mice can lead to systemic anti-tumor immune responses in distant untreated lesions.

According to a release, these data are consistent with the previously reported findings in melanoma patients treated in the Phase 2 OMSI100 study (December 2013).

The company noted that Robert Pierce, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, presented the data and findings at the 10th Annual PEGS: The Essential Protein Engineering Summit at Seaport World Trade Center in Boston as part of a discussion titled "Glass Half-Empty or Half-Full? Potential Mechanisms of Non-Response to Immunomodulatory Antibodies."

Further, Dr. Pierce's presentation focused on how understanding the mechanism of PD-1 non-responders creates an opportunity for new therapies to "convert" non-responders to responders, with the aim of extending the considerable benefit of immunotherapy to even more patients. OncoSec's ImmunoPulse therapy with DNA-based IL-12 was used as an example of new therapies directed at driving the conversion of non-immunogenic tumors into immunogenic ones. The new mouse model data underscored the utility of a translational experimental model in exploring a drug's mechanism of action, a requirement for rational combination therapies.

In brief, the syngeneic B16.F10 mouse melanoma tumor model was modified to allow the implantation of two tumors, one on the left and one on the right. The left-side tumors were treated with electroporation of mouse plasmid IL-12 and tumors on the right side were not treated, enabling the assessment of the therapy's ability to cause distant anti-tumor effects. Tumor progression was assessed by caliper measurements and pathologic assessment of the H&E- stained slides. Forty-percent of the untreated tumors (4/10) showed brisk inflammatory infiltrate and pathologic changes of regression at day 18 or day 22 after electroporation. An IL-12-dependent TIL (tumor infiltrating lymphocyte) and interferon gamma response was confirmed in both treated and untreated tumors using a Nanostring- based gene expression analysis.

"Although preliminary, our recent data underscores the importance of researching combination therapies using our ImmunoPulse technology with checkpoint inhibitors and immune activators to optimize their therapeutic effects," said Punit Dhillon, President and CEO. "We now know - at least in regard to the ability of IL-12 to generate systemic anti-tumor immune responses - that it works in a manner consistent with what we have observed in patients. This study is demonstrating for the first time the mechanism by which DNA IL-12 may convert non-responding tumors to responding tumors using our ImmunoPulse technology."

Dr. Pierce noted, "In my presentation, I described how understanding in vivo drug effects can lead to mechanistic insight as to how next-generation therapeutics can overcome 'resistance.' For example, if the key to turning anti-PD-1 non-responders into responders lies in driving a brisk CD8 TIL response, then this becomes an opportunity for novel approaches such as ImmunoPulse, which are aimed at augmenting the immunogenicity of the tumor."

Data collection stems from an ongoing collaboration with Dr. Richard Heller, Ph.D., OncoSec Scientific Advisory Board Member, as part of a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with Old Dominion University (ODU) and the Frank Reidy Research Center for Bioelectrics. Under the agreement, OncoSec and the University agreed to collaborate on nonclinical research focused on developing new technology related to electroporation and the delivery of different agents into solid tumors by electroporation. Current experiments are focused on investigating combination-based approaches and gaining an understanding of mechanism of action.

PEGS will attract more than 1,800 attendees to Boston's seaport district to participate in a variety of open forum discussions and collaborative affairs. This year's summit will feature 20 conferences and 15 short courses. Dr. Pierce's discussion will be a part of the Cambridge Healthtech Institute's 4th Annual Antibodies for Cancer Therapy conference.

OncoSec Medical Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing its ImmunoPulse immunotherapy to treat solid tumors.

Conference information:

((Comments on this story may be sent to

For more stories covering the world of technology, please see HispanicBusiness' Tech Channel

Source: Professional Services Close - Up

Story Tools Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters