Portland-Based Immuno-oncologist Dr. Bernard A. Fox To Present at Siena, Italy Conference

October 7, 2017
Contact: Patricia Pearson, ppearson@ubivac.com

Siena, Italy—Dr. Bernard A. Fox, internationally known expert in immuno-oncology will meet with other cancer experts here Saturday to discuss recent advances in treatmentsthat hold promise for improved treatments and increased survival for patients with cancer. Dr. Fox, chief executive officer, UbiVac, www.ubivac.com, will discuss the latest research in agonistic antibodies in an era of antagonistic antibodies. He will provide insights into mono-therapy, as well as combination and/or sequential therapies from his latest publication on the topic and UbiVac’s evaluation of patients enrolled on their phase II clinical trial for NSCLC.

The event, “A Vision of Immuno-Oncology: The Siena Consensus,” will be held October 7, 3 to 6 pm, as a “think tank” of those involved in developing the latest cancer immunotherapies. It is sponsored by the Network Italiano per la Bioterapia del Tumori/The Italian Network for Cancer Biotherapy (NIBIT), is part of its XVth Cancer Bio-Immunotherapy Meeting.

A non-profit foundation, NIBIT was formed in 2004 and is focused on bringing together groups involved in clinical and pre-clinical research in cancer immunotherapy and biotherapy to discuss the latest advances in the field. This meeting seeks to help build consensus among biotechnology, pharmaceutical companies, foundations that support research and experts in the field who concentrate on the critical elements in developing combination immunotherapy for patients with cancer.

Immuno-oncology/immunotherapy is the most promising new technology in the ongoing research to treat and cure cancer. The therapy energizes the immune system to attack cancer cells as invaders and destroy them or eliminate roadblocks termed checkpoints that can shut down the immune system.

Based on preclinical work showing additive and synergistic effects when immunotherapies are combined, an increasing number of cancer treatment protocols are combining two or more types of immunotherapy. Whilethese combinations improve survival for animals with some types of cancer, for others, the combination of drugs can be less effective than a single agent However, proper sequencing of the drugs provides a synergistic effect and can result in apparent cure of some animals with breast cancer. (https://www.cancer.gov/news Oct 3,2017).

Other work by UbiVac and the firm’s collaborators has shown that a single dose of UbiVac’s DRibble cancer vaccine and anti-OX40 can significantly increase survival and provide apparent cure in about one third of animals bearing an advanced, difficult to treat, breast cancer. (NATURE Scientific Reports 22 November 2016) This and other research has motivated UbiVac to initiate a clinical trial combining both agents.

“The rationale for combining anti-OX40 with a vaccine is incredibly strong,” Fox said. “The OX40 molecule only appears on the immune cells that can destroy cancer for three to four days after they have been activated by the vaccine. Most of the time, the immune helper T cells and cancer killer T cells do not express OX40.  At those times anti-OX40 has no effect on those T cells. Thus, the best way to develop or determine an active dose of anti-OX40 is in concert with a cancer vaccine that contains a large number of cancer antigens. UbiVac’s lead vaccine, DRibble, has more than 100 such antigens.

“Anti-OX40 as a single agent can be therapeutic in some cancer models, but those are generally theeasiest to treat cancer models and do not represent the majority of patients with cancer.” Fox added.

He continued, “UbiVac recognizes that there have been phase III trials in which cancer vaccines have failed to provide objective responses when administered as single agents. However, for nearly 20 years, cancer models in animals have shown that combinations of cancer vaccines with checkpoint blockade or T cell agonists can lead to long-term survival and apparent cure in some animals. Yet, very few human trials have tested this point.”

UbiVac is actively working to explore collaborations with anti-OX40 and other T cell agonists.

“Now is the time to have this meeting, “ Fox said. “I applaud NIBIT for gathering academic investigators, important foundations and companies that are developing anti-OX40 and other T cell agonists to discuss conceptsaround dose, schedule, biomarkers, microbiome and the metabolome.”

Chief Medical Officer, The Cancer Research Institute, AimanShalabi, will address the opening session detailing current and prospectivecollaborations at NIBIT.

Other topics at the meeting include: How to further the development of immunotherapy; Biomarkers in peripheral blood; and Furthering the progress of new ideas in the field from young scientists.

“I am pleased to be able to attend this meeting and share UbiVac’s recent developments in this important area of research for a cancer cure,” Dr. Fox commented. “This is an international issue and an international quest. Clearly, global collaboration is proving necessary to reach our shared goal of conquering cancer with fewer side effects and less recurrence of the disease.”


Award Number R44CA121612 from the National Cancer Institute supports the research and clinical trial of DPV-001 in patients with NSCLC. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

UbiVac is a clinical stage Immuno-Ongology company engaged in development of immunotherapies to combatcancer. UbiVac’s DPV-001 recently completed a Phase II randomized multi-center adjuvant study for non-small cell lung cancer that documented efficacy for induction or boosting of broad anti-cancer immunity. Based on these data UbiVac is planning to open a phase Ib/II study of DPV-001 + anti-OX40 in patients with advanced cancer. UbiVac has ongoing preclinical and discovery programs using DRibble, nanoparticles and spread-defective Cytomegalovirus (sdCMV). Founded in Portland, Ore. in 2005 by Drs. Bernard A. Fox and Hong Ming Hu, UbiVac is aspinout of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center, Earle A. Chiles Research Institute at Providence Portland Medical Center. In 2011 UbiVac, in cooperation with Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), created UbiVac CMV to license sdCMV.

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