Imugene onboards renowned cancer scientist Michael Caligiuri

By Megan Graham. Published at Jan 7, 2019, in Biotech

Clinical stage immuno-oncology company, Imugene (ASX:IMU), has appointed world-renowned cancer researcher, Professor Michael Caligiuri, to its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB).

Caligiuri is President of the City of Hope National Medical Center in Los Angeles and holds the Deana and Steve Campbell Physician-in-Chief. In 2017, he was elected president of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the world’s largest cancer research organisation.

He is a physician whose clinical work has focused on leukemia and lymphoma, and has designed and conducted clinical studies for over 1500 leukemia and lymphoma patients.

Since 1990, over 100 students have trained in the Caligiuri laboratory and have received over 200 awards for their research.

IMU’s managing director and CEO, Leslie Chong, said: “It is a great honor for Imugene to have such a distinguished scientist join our team. Dr Caligiuri has devoted his career and his scientific discoveries for the benefit of millions of patients whose lives have been impacted by cancer.

“He is a prodigious researcher with over 380 published works to his name, and I am sure his contribution to Imugene will be profound.”

Caligiuri also commented on his appointment: “I am pleased to join the Scientific Advisory Board of Imugene. I am familiar with their B-cell peptide vaccines from my time at Ohio State University, and look forward to being part of the team to advance the technology through the clinic.”

Caligiuri brings with him an impressive body of experience. From 2009-2011, he served as president of the Association for American Cancer Institutes (AACI), and was the president of the Society of Natural Immunity from 2014-2017.

On top of that, he is an elected member of the American Association for Clinical Investigation and the American Association of Physicians, as well as an elected Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Prior to his appointment at City of Hope in February last year, Caligiuri was the CEO of the Ohio State University (OSU) James Cancer Hospital (2008-2017) and director of OSU’s Comprehensive Cancer Center (2003-2017); he was also the director of OSU’s Division of Hematology-Oncology from 2000 through 2008.

Caligiuri has served on the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Board of Scientific Counselors and Board of Scientific Advisors.

He was the chairman of the Institute of Medicine’s National Cancer Policy Forum from 2014-2016, and currently chairs or is a member of 10 cancer centre advisory boards across the country.

In 2010, Caligiuri was one of four individuals in the country to receive a MERIT award from the National Cancer Institute for his work on immunity and cancer, and in 2016 received an Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute. In 2018, he was elected a Fellow of the AACR Academy.

Meanwhile, back in December, Imuron announced it had met all study endpoints and produced positive top-line results from its Phase 1b study of its HER-Vaxx gastric cancer vaccine.

14 patients, who all express the HER2 target protein, were tested across three dose levels of HER-Vaxx (10, 30 and 50 micrograms) in combination with current standard of care chemotherapy, cisplatin and fluorouracil or capecitabine.

Results showed that of the 10 patients evaluable for tumour growth assessment during the study, five patients showed partial response (PR) and four patients showed stable disease (SD) for their best overall response. Promisingly, all dose levels showed an increased antibody response in patients, no safety issues were reported, and HER-Vaxx was found to be well-tolerated.

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