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RIBI IMMUNOCHEM: THERAPEUTIC CANCER VACCINE CONTAINING DETOX-B ADJUVANT FOUND TO GENERATE SIGNIFICANT ANTIBODY LEVELS, STUDY SAYS

RIBI IMMUNOCHEM: THERAPEUTIC CANCER VACCINE CONTAINING DETOX-B ADJUVANT FOUND TO GENERATE SIGNIFICANT ANTIBODY LEVELS, STUDY SAYS
 HAMILTON, Mont., April 29 /PRNewswire/ -- A therapeutic cancer vaccine, developed by Biomira Inc. (NASDAQ: BIOMF) of Edmonton, Alberta, and incorporating DETOX(TM)-B adjuvant, was found to generate significant increases in antibody levels, according to the results of a Phase I human clinical study published recently, Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc. (NASDAQ: RIBI) said today. DETOX-B adjuvant is a proprietary product of Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc.
 The study, "Active immunization of human ovarian cancer patients against a common carcinoma (Thomsen-Friedenreich) determinant using a synthetic carbohydrate antigen," conducted by investigators affiliated with Biomira, was published in the May issue of the "Journal of Immunotherapy."
 The study used a therapeutic cancer vaccine incorporating a synthetic carbohydrate version of the Thomsen-Friedenreich (TF) carcinoma antigen with DETOX-B adjuvant. Biomira has licensed DETOX-B from Ribi ImmunoChem for the clinical development and potential commercialization of Biomira's line for therapeutic cancer vaccines.
 The investigators reported that "nine of 10 ovarian cancer patients showed a significant increase in IgM (a type of antibody) titer above pre-existing levels" following immunization with the TF carcinoma therapeutic vaccine. The investigators reported that the immunization also resulted in IgG responses in nine of 10 patients and IgA responses in eight of 10 patients, adding that "two patients produced a vigorous IgG response after their first injections, suggesting a recall response." The investigators further noted that "increased levels of cytotoxic antibodies against TF-expressing tumor cell targets were detected in eight of the 10 patients following immunization. One patient who had no detectable cytotoxic antibodies prior to immunization developed increasingly strong cytotoxic antibodies as a function of the number of injections." The investigators found that the antibodies were highly specific to the synthetic carbohydrate TF tumor antigen and cross-reactive with natural TF tumor antigen.
 The Phase I study was intended primarily to demonstrate safety of the therapeutic cancer vaccine in humans, and the investigators noted that the patients tolerated the therapy very well, adding that two patients experienced transient reduction of at least one tumor mass.
 The investigators concluded that "our results demonstrate that... DETOX is an appropriate nontoxic adjuvant for the generation of high- titer specific anti-carbohydrate responses in human cancer patients. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that synthetic carbohydrate antigens can be used to generate an immune response in humans against a clinically relevant cancer-associated antigen."
 "We are very pleased and most encouraged with the publication of these results," said Dr. Jon A. Rudbach, vice president-Research and Development for Ribi ImmunoChem. "We feel that the demonstration of safety and indications of activity as shown by the antibody responses are highly supportive of our rationale of using tumor-associated antigens with our adjuvants for active-specific immunotherapy of cancer."
 Active-specific immunotherapy is the rationale underlying the development of MELACINE(R) melanoma theraccine, which is a proprietary product of Ribi ImmunoChem. MELACINE incorporates two types of melanoma tumor cell lysates as the antigen source with DETOX adjuvant. MELACINE, which is currently in a pivotal Phase III controlled clinical study, is administered to melanoma patients in an effort to provoke an active-specific response by the immune system to attack melanoma systemically in the body. The endpoint of the current Phase III study is to determine if MELACINE melanoma theraccine provides greater life extension than chemotherapy for late-stage melanoma patients.
 Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc., a biopharmaceutical company founded in 1981, is a leader in the development of immunostimulants for use in preventing and treating human and animal diseases.
 -0- 4/29/92
 /CONTACT: Jon A. Rudbach or Jeffrey S. McDowell of Ribi ImmunoChem Research, 406-363-6214/
 (RIBI) CO: Ribi ImmunoChem Research Inc.; Biomira Inc. ST: Montana IN: MTC SU:


TS-SC -- SE005 -- 4199 04/29/92 09:12 EDT
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Date:Apr 29, 1992
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