VIENNA, Va., April 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- CEL-SCI CORPORATION
(Amex: CVM) and The Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC) announced today that
a newly discovered peptide provided 100% protection against malaria infection
in a mouse model. Dr. Yupin Charoenvit of NMRC presented these data at the
Experimental Biology 2002 meeting in New Orleans, LA. This same peptide,
called derG, has also induced protective effects in two other totally
different and unrelated animal challenge models for herpes simplex virus and
cancer. The peptide appears to increase the animal's ability to fight off all
of these three diseases. The peptide is a modified version of a human
sequence known to bind to both human and mouse immune cells and as such, the
results obtained are thought to have direct applicability in man.
In the malaria study conducted by the Navy researchers, 100% protection
from infection was observed after administration, two weeks apart, of only two
doses as low as 5 micrograms per dose. Protection was defined as a total lack
of malaria parasites in the blood of the animals at several time points after
challenge, a very stringent test.
Data was also presented on studies of derG done in a mouse Herpes Simplex
Virus skin scarification model by the team of Dr. Kenneth S. Rosenthal at
NEOUCOM. The best results in reducing mortality and delaying the appearance
of herpes lesions were seen when derG was administered one day before
Another set of data was presented on work done with derG by Onyvax, Ltd.,
a British biotechnology company. When used in the allogeneic melanoma (skin
cancer) tumor vaccine model, derG improved protection conferred by an
experimental tumor cell vaccine alone.
It is of great importance that the first two test systems did not involve
the administration of disease antigen (e.g. malaria or herpes virus) with
derG. This is unexpected because any vaccination typically requires both the
use of an antigen (a piece of the disease) along with an adjuvant (an irritant
designed to attract the immune system to the injection site where it will
react to the disease antigen) administered at the same time. Yet, derG given
alone, well ahead of the animals seeing any disease antigens, conferred
protection against challenge by the disease causing organisms. This suggests
that derG is acting early and directly on the immune system to enhance the
ability to respond and protect itself from the disease causing organisms.
Geert Kersten, Chief Executive Officer of CEL-SCI said, "The fact that we
were able to see protection without disease antigen in several diseases opens
up the possibility that derG could become an inexpensive general immune
regulatory drug that protects people from a large number of diseases. We
would expect derG to also be useful in the treatment of diseases. We are
looking for partners to develop the many potential applications for this
Potential indications for derG are: 1) Infectious diseases -- with
antibiotic resistance on the rise, there is a great need for new treatments,
particularly in hospital settings. derG could also potentially replace or
augment current therapies for Influenza, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C; 2)
Sepsis; 3) Cancers; 4) Allergies -- derG could be a more effective replacement
for allergy shots and other current therapies and/or augment their efficacy by
changing the immune response normally induced by allergens. An oral form
could reduce the need for or replace present oral therapies requiring daily or
more frequent administration; 5) Some autoimmune conditions, such as
autoimmune myocarditis; and 6) Vaccine adjuvant -- derG has the potential to
enhance and to reduce the time to obtain protective immunity after
vaccination. Its use may also eliminate or reduce the need for booster shots.
Several patent applications have been filed covering the composition of
derG and related compounds, as well as methods and conditions for its use.
CEL-SCI is looking for a partner for the development of derG and its analogues
as potential treatments for the indications cited above. It also intends to
pursue funding from government sources.
CEL-SCI Corporation is developing new immune system based treatments for
cancer and infectious diseases. Its lead product, Multikine(TM), is in Phase
II clinical studies against head & neck cancer and Phase I clinical studies
for HIV-infected women with cervical dysplasia. The Company has operations in
Vienna, Virginia and Baltimore, Maryland.
When used in this report, the words "intends," "believes," "anticipated"
and "expects" and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking
statements. Such statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which
could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected. Factors
that could cause or contribute to such differences include, an inability to
duplicate the clinical results demonstrated in clinical studies, timely
development of any potential products that can be shown to be safe and
effective, receiving necessary regulatory approvals, difficulties in
manufacturing any of the Company's potential products, inability to raise the
necessary capital and the risk factors set forth from time to time in CEL-SCI
Corporation's SEC filings, including but not limited to its report on Form 10-
K for the year ended September 30, 2001. The Company undertakes no obligation
to publicly release the result of any revision to these forward-looking
statements which may be made to reflect the events or circumstances after the
date hereof or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.