The ImMucin cancer vaccine has just entered "Phase III" clinical trials at Jerusalem's Hadassah University Medical Center. If the vaccine passes this phase, the drug will go to the appropriate regulatory authorities in countries around the world. After passing regulatory review, the drug would be able to enter the drug market about six years from now.
The ImMucin vaccine is produced by Vaxil BioTherapeutics, a clinical-stage company (so called because all of its products are in the early stages of development and testing; not yet ready for the market). Vaxil develops therapeutic and preventive vaccines for cancer and tuberculosis. ImMusin is synthetically derived from the MUC1 protein, which is associated with more than 90% of solid tumour cancers and a number of non-solid tumours.
ImMucin works by stimulating the patient's immune system to selectively target tumour cells. According to Vaxil, ImMucin does not contain any "non-specific" epitopes (an epitope is a the part of a antigen or foreign molecule that causes the body to produce antibodies), that allow the immune system to target just tumour cells instead of attacking other non-cancerous parts of the body that also contain the MUC1 protein. Vaxil saysu that the preclinical studies have shown ImMucin to induce a stronger immunity against MUC1 compared with other MUC1-derived derived vaccines.
ImMucin has the unique ability to tell the body which cells to attack. Julian Levy, the CEO of Vaxil, told United With Israel, "the body knows something is not quite right but the immune system doesn't know how to protect itself against the tumour like it does against an infection or virus. This is because cancer cells are the body's own cells gone wrong." In other words, ImMucin is intended to enhance the immune system so that it can track down and destroy the cancer.
ImMucin will be tested on a large number of patients (hundreds to thousands of individuals) in the Phase III trials. Once the drug has proved successful and passes each country's regulations, it may then go on the market in that country. After it reaches the market, there are two more phases to evaluate the long-term effects on patients and to further integrated it into widespread public treatment.