Aethlon Medical, Inc a therapeutic technology company focused on unmet needs in global health, announced today that the National Cancer Institute (NCI) has awarded the Company an SBIR Phase 2 contract for Topic 359, a solicitation entitled “Technologies for Differential Isolation of Exosomes and Oncosomes.” This solicitation prioritized the advancement of technologies for isolating exosomes from biofluids for applications in oncology research and clinical care. This contract will be funded with Federal funds from the NCI, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. 75N91019C00042
Exosomes are nanoparticles that are abundantly released from cancer cells and carry the complement of a tumor’s genetic and protein cargo, making them important targets for non-invasive liquid biopsies in cancer. Aethlon is actively developing assays in this area through its majority-owned subsidiary, Exosome Sciences, Inc. However, there remains a need for high-throughput and selective technologies which isolate exosomes from various bodily fluids that could be adopted in clinical workflows. A technology that resolves the bottleneck in methods for obtaining pure populations of exosomes is anticipated to have wide applicability to be paired with downstream genomic sequencing, proteomic profiling tests and, potentially, for the development of therapeutic products.
Aethlon’s contract, entitled “A Device Prototype for Isolation of Melanoma Exosomes for Diagnostics and Treatment Monitoring“, will potentially advance a device having the capabilities of isolating exosomes derived from cancer cells and from the bulk of other vesicles and complex proteins present in fresh and archived biofluids. The work to be performed will focus on melanoma exosomes, with anticipated wider applicability to other cancer types. This work follows from Aethlon’s successful completion of a Phase I contract for the Topic 359 solicitation that ran from September 2017 through June 2018. The Phase I work demonstrated the capabilities of a laboratory version of Aethlon’s proprietary technology, the Hemopurifier, as an exosome-isolation device by processing biofluid samples to obtain intact preparations of melanoma exosomes. Following on the Phase I work, the deliverables in the Phase II program will involve the design and testing of a pre-commercial prototype of a more advanced version of the exosome isolation platform. The goal is for the device platform to be optimized for applicability in workflows to leverage the untapped potential of exosomes for diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring in melanoma.
The NCI Phase II contract period runs from September 16, 2019 through September 15, 2021. The total amount of the firm fixed price contract is $1,860,561. Under this contract, Aethlon plans to collaborate with researchers at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center in Pittsburgh, PA and Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA.
Aethlon Medical, Inc. also is continuing the development of its proprietary Hemopurifier, which is a first in class therapeutic device designed for the single use depletion of circulating viruses and cancer-promoting exosomes. The Hemopurifier has previously been designated a Breakthrough Device by the FDA for the treatment of glycosylated viruses, including Ebola and other hemorrhagic fever viruses, and in late 2018 was additionally designated as a Breakthrough Device “…for the treatment of individuals with advanced or metastatic cancer who are either unresponsive to or intolerant of standard of care therapy, and with cancer types in which exosomes have been shown to participate in the development or severity of the disease….”. Following discussions and a meeting with FDA, the Company is now preparing for the initiation of clinical trials in cancer.
Source – PRNewswire