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BriaCell Therapeutics Corp. (BCT.V) has discovered a gene signature potentially explaining why its BriaVax cancer vaccine was exceptionally efficacious in a clinical trial subject with stage IV breast cancer. Data will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) next month. The company has focused its research efforts on identifying links between its cancer vaccine and responding patients.

“After sorting through tens of thousands of genes, it’s very exciting to find a coherent set of biomarkers that may allow us to better understand the remarkable response observed in the previous phase I clinical trial,” commented Dr. Markus Lacher, head of BriaCell research and development. “We believe that the identification of this gene signature not only demonstrates the strength of our R&D program but also provides a foundation for a mechanism of action.”

Understanding the mechanism of action (MOA) of BriaVax, that is how the vaccine works, is a critical component of the path to BriaDx, a companion diagnostic for prospectively identifying patients with a high likelihood of benefiting from BriaVax. The company believes that the discovered gene signature is a crucial element in the MOA and could thus support BriaCell’s efforts in identifying patients for whom BriaVax may be most efficacious. BriaCell’s mission is to serve late-stage cancer patients with no other treatment options. The company hopes to offer an attractive alternative, one which would combine the BriaDx companion diagnostic together with the BriaVax cancer vaccine. Identifying those patients most likely to benefit from BriaVax would only serve to enhance the lives of patients by offering a more comprehensive solution with a higher success rate.

Presentation of R&D at AACR

BriaCell will present a research study on the aforementioned research, mechanism of action of its lead cancer vaccine BriaVax, at the annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) meeting in New Orleans on April 18, 2016. The study, a molecular analyses of both BriaVax and blood specimens from patients treated therewith, identified a gene signature potentially explaining why a clinical trial subject responded to BriaVax with exceptionally strong regression of even stage IV, metastatic tumours, including brain metastases (reported by Wiseman and Kharazi, Breast J., 2006; 12(5):475 to 480). The abstract of the company’s AACR meeting presentation is available on-line.