Aethlon Medical Reports Immediate and Rapid Virologic Responses in Hepatitis C (HCV) Patients Receiving Hemopurifier® Treatment Protocol
Feb. 1, 2012, 7:33 a.m. EST
SAN DIEGO, Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Aethlon Medical, Inc. AEMD +13.21% , the pioneer in developing selective therapeutic filtration devices to address infectious disease, cancer and other life-threatening conditions, reported today that the administration of Hemopurifier® therapy during the first three days of standard of care peginterferon+ribavirin (PR) drug therapy has demonstrated both immediate and rapid virologic responses in genotype-1 infected HCV patients. An immediate virologic response (IVR) represents a 2-log or 100 fold reduction of HCV RNA at day-7 of therapy and rapid virologic response (RVR) is defined as undetectable HCV RNA at day-30 of the 48-week PR regimen. Average HCV RNA reduction during the three day Hemopurifier® + PR treatment window was 98.79%.
The Aethlon Hemopurifier® is a first-in-class medical device with broad-spectrum capabilities against viral pathogens, including the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and numerous bioterror and pandemic threats. Human studies have demonstrated the Hemopurifier® to be safe and provide average viral load reductions of greater than 50% during four-hour treatment periods in both HCV and HIV infected individuals without the administration of antiviral drugs. The device is currently the subject of a human clinical study in India to evaluate its ability to accelerate viral load depletion when utilized in combination with HCV standard of care drug therapy. An investigational device exemption (IDE) to initiate clinical studies in the United States is pending with The Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In vitro studies have also documented that the Hemopurifier® captures exosomes underlying cancer, including colorectal, lymphoma, melanoma, ovarian, and breast cancer. We have expanded our exosome research programs through a collaborative agreement with the Sarcoma Oncology Center (SOC), based in Santa Monica, California. The SOC collaboration is studying the ex vivo effectiveness of the Aethlon Hemopurifier® to remove immunosuppressive exosomes from the blood of advanced-stage cancer patients. The study will evaluate 25 patients, five patients with metastatic cancer of the following types; non-small cell lung cancer, prostate cancer, melanoma, head and neck cancer, and sarcoma. Exosomes released by cancers have emerged to become an important therapeutic target in cancer care, as they are implicated in cancer survival, growth, and metastasis. Researchers have also identified that cancer-released exosomes assist tumors in evading the response of the immune system.
It is estimated that approximately 4 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide are infected with HCV, which leads to chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, and is the leading cause of liver transplant in the U.S. The Hemopurifier® provides rapid real-time clearance of circulating HCV yielding the potential to improve benefit, dose, duration and tolerability of drug therapies without the introduction of drug toxicity and interaction risks. In previous Hemopurifier® studies, average HCV RNA reductions exceeded 50% during four-hour treatment periods without the administration of drug therapy.
"We are extremely pleased with our interim treatment outcomes, which highlight the synergistic potential of Hemopurifier® and drug therapy working in concert to overcome a disease condition," stated Aethlon Chairman and CEO, Jim Joyce. "In addition to our expansive opportunity in hepatitis C, we continue to advance parallel strategies to address HIV, cancer, and sepsis."
Beyond the opportunity to improve PR standard-of-care therapy, Hemopurifier® therapy may also benefit emerging all-antiviral drug cocktails, which face the challenge of overcoming the rate at which viruses attain drug resistance through rapid mutation. The development of drug-resistant strains can occur quickly owing to the extraordinarily high rate of HCV replication. The clearance of circulating hepatitis C virions, including mutant strains, would inhibit the continued replication of drug-resistant viruses and decrease the likelihood of early onset resistance to emerging all-antiviral strategies.
The Extract-1 Study Protocol
The reported results represent interim data from the first three patients treated with Hemopurifier® therapy under the Extract-1 study protocol, which was initiated in the fall of 2011. The clinical site location previously administered Hemopurifier® therapy to non-genotype 1 HCV patients under various treatment schedules. Under the Extract-1 study protocol, hard-to-treat genotype 1 HCV patients are enrolled to receive three 6-hour applications of Hemopurifier® therapy during the first three days of standard of care PR therapy. On day one of the Extract-1 protocol, PR therapy is initiated within one hour of first Hemopurifer® therapy completion. Hemopurifier® therapy is then administered again once daily for the next two days in combination with PR therapy. During the Hemopurifier® treatment periods, patients are free to watch movies, read books, and perform other tasks in the comfort of a clinic setting.
Clinical Endpoint Assessments
The aim of the Extract-1 study protocol is to assess the safety and clinical impact of intermittent Hemopurifier® therapy when combined with the first three days of peginterferon+ribavirin (PR) standard-of-care. To date, Hemopurifier® therapy in Extract-1 treated patients has been well tolerated and without device-related adverse events during the Hemopurifier® + PR treatment period. At present, the reported data of the Extract-1 study is not statistically significant and should be considered preliminary. Changes in HCV RNA levels are measured with the Roche Cobas TaqMan assay, which has a quantification limit of 15 IU per milliliter (iu/ml). In addition to measuring changes in HCV RNA, the Extract-1 study protocol will quantify the amount of HCV captured within Hemopurifier® treatment cartridges. The goal of PR treatment is to establish a sustained virologic response (SVR), defined as undetectable HCV RNA 24 weeks after completion of therapy. Primary clinical endpoints of the Extract-1 study measure the impact of Hemopurifier® therapy during the initial phase of PR therapy. Each clinical endpoint is based on changes in HCV RNA from baseline viral load measurements taken prior to Hemopurifier® + PR therapy initiation. These endpoints include:
Day Three (3): the change in HCV RNA from baseline to the end of the Hemopurifier® + PR treatment phase;
Day Seven (7): the change in HCV RNA 7 days from initial baseline. A drop of HCV RNA greater than 2 logs at day 7 is known as an Immediate Virologic Response (IVR). Based on the landmark IDEAL Study of 3,070 HCV genotype-1 patients receiving PR therapy, IVR achievement correlates with 90+% SVR rates, yet is observed in less than 5% of patients;
Day 30: the change in HCV RNA 30 days from initial baseline. Undetectable HCV RNA at day 30 is known as a Rapid Virologic Response (RVR). Based on the IDEAL Study, RVR achievement correlates with an SVR likelihood of 86.2%, which is observed in only 10.35% of patients.
Day 3 Results
Patient E-1.03: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 5,800,000 IU/ml to 1,840 IU/ml when measured on day 3, representing a 3.49 log reduction. HCV RNA reduction during the 3-day Hemopurifier® + PR treatment phase accounted for 99.96% of the overall HCV RNA reduction reported at day-30.
Patient E-1.02: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 199,500 IU/ml to 31,550 IU/ml when measured on day 3, representing a 0.80 log reduction. HCV RNA reduction during the 3-day Hemopurifier® + PR treatment phase accounted for 84.21% of the overall HCV RNA reduction reported at day-30.
Patient E-1.01: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 1,340,000 IU/ml to 54,900 IU/ml when measured on day 3, representing a 1.38 log reduction. HCV RNA reduction during the 3-day Hemopurifier® + PR treatment phase accounted for 95.90% of the overall HCV RNA reduction reported at day-30.
Day 7 Results
On average, the treated patients achieved 2.24 log HCV RNA reduction from baseline at day-7, which is beyond the 2 log reduction that defines the IVR criteria achieved in less than 5% of PR treated patients.
Patient E-1.03: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 5,800,000 IU/ml to 234 IU/ml when measured on day 7, representing a 4.39 log reduction.
Patient E-1.02: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 199,500 IU/ml to 17,300 IU/ml when measured on day 7, representing a 1.06 log reduction.
Patient E-1.01: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 1,340,000 IU/ml to 24,400 IU/ml when measured on day 7, representing a 1.74 log reduction.
Day 30 Results
Two of the three patients achieved a RVR at day 30, which is normally achieved in only 10.35% of patients receiving PR therapy, yet correlates with a 86.2% SVR versus a 30.4% SVR in patients who fail to achieve a RVR. Based on the IDEAL study, it would normally require the enrollment of approximately 20 PR treated patients to accomplish 2 RVR outcomes. It should also be noted that patient E-1.02 missed RVR achievement by 25 iu/ml.
Patient E-1.03: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 5,800,000 IU/ml to undetectable (<15 IU/ml) when measured on day 30, representing a 5.58 log reduction.
Patient E-1.02: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 199,500 IU/ml to 40 IU/ml when measured on day 30, representing a 3.69 log reduction.
Patient E-1.01: Baseline HCV RNA dropped from 1,340,000 IU/ml to undetectable (<15 IU/ml) when measured on day 30, representing a 4.95 log reduction.
Beyond high SVR rates, RVR achievement also provides HCV infected individuals the opportunity to reduce PR duration from 48 to 24 weeks (6-month reduction) in RVR patients that maintain undetectable HCV RNA through week 12 of PR therapy. RVR patients are also unlikely to discontinue PR therapy as a result of a non-virological response, which represents the primary reason why 46% of PR therapy patients don't complete their treatment regimen.
RVR achievement also plays a pivotal role in curbing treatment relapse, defined as undetectable HCV RNA at PR completion that again becomes detectable in the 24-week window after therapy completion. As reflected in the IDEAL study, the time to first undetectable HCV RNA correlates with the incidence of treatment relapse. Approximately 50% of patients who achieve complete HCV suppression for the first time by week 24 of therapy suffer from treatment relapse, while less than 10% of RVR patients relapse from therapy.
The Extract-1 study is being conducted at Medanta, The Medicity Institute (Medicity), a $360 million multi-specialty medical institute recently established to be a premier center for medical tourism in India. The principal investigator of the study is Vijay Kher, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Nephrology at the Medanta Kidney & Urology Institute. Dr. Kher previously served as the principal investigator of Hemopurifier® therapy studies conducted at the Apollo and Fortis hospitals in Delhi, India.
Based on the initial Extract-1 study outcomes, Aethlon will seek permission to open up the treatment study to HCV infected individuals who reside outside of India. The company also plans to expand its GMP manufacturing capabilities and upon quantification of HCV capture within Hemopurifier® treatment cartridges, will resubmit an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) that will request FDA permission to initiate treatment studies in the U.S. The Company is also interested in collaborative clinical opportunities aimed at determining the synergistic effects of Hemopurifier® therapy combined with non-interferon based drug regimens.
About Aethlon Medical
The Aethlon Medical mission is to create innovative medical devices that address unmet medical needs in cancer, infectious disease, and other life-threatening conditions. Our Aethlon ADAPT(TM) System is a revenue-stage technology platform that provides the basis for a new class of therapeutics that target the selective removal of disease enabling particles from the entire circulatory system. The Aethlon ADAPT(TM) product pipeline includes the Aethlon Hemopurifier® to address infectious disease and cancer; HER2osome(TM) to target HER2+ breast cancer, and a medical device being developed under a contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) that would reduce the incidence of sepsis in combat-injured soldiers and civilians. For more information, please visit www.aethlonmedical.com .
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SOURCE Aethlon Medical, Inc.