ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI), a privately held, Maryland-based biotechnology company, announced today that it has appointed brain tumor expert E. Antonio ‘Nino’ Chiocca, M.D., Ph.D., Harvey W. Cushing Professor of Neurosurgery, Harvard Medical School Neurosurgeon-in-Chief and Chairman, Department of Neurosurgery, Brigham and Women’s Hospital to its scientific advisory board. ITI is currently applying its investigational UNITE™ platform in immuno-oncology, particularly for virally driven brain cancers, and Dr. Chiocca’s extensive expertise in this field will be instrumental to these efforts.
Dr. Chiocca has approximately 25 years of experience in neuro oncology and neuro surgery. His expertise has long focused on discovering and engineering biologic agents such as viruses into selective anticancer agents, specifically for brain tumors. Dr. Chiocca’s current research is focused on exploring opportunities to prevent or treat brain cancer with viral infections. His team is currently working in several exciting and cutting edge areas, including exploring the role of CMV infection in brain tumors, and applying novel gene therapy, oncolytic virus and cellular therapies to the treatment of brain tumors. Dr. Chiocca has had editorial mentions in over 300 scientific papers and contributed on multiple editorial boards for the Journal of Neurosurgery, Molecular Therapy, and Neuro-oncology to name a few. He has held several leadership positions for national organizations, including President of the Society of Neuro-oncology (2015-2017), the largest organization for practitioners and students of Neuro-oncology with over 4,000 members.
“Immunomic is pleased to welcome Dr. Chiocca to our scientific advisory board,” said Teri Heiland, Ph.D., Immunomic Chief Scientific Officer. “His focused research expertise of brain tumors will provide a wealth of knowledge to ITI as we continue to apply our investigative UNITE platform to brain tumors, specifically Glioblastomas, the most aggressive brain cancer.”
Dr. Chiocca graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a Bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, after which he received his medical degree from the University Of Texas School Of Medicine at Houston before completing his residency at the Massachusetts General Hospital in neurological surgery. He also earned his Ph.D. in biomedical sciences from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences University of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston. Dr. Chiocca has multiple faculty academic appointments as Professor and Physician of Neurological surgery including Ohio State, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. Within the clinic Dr. Chiocca is working on discovering and engineering viral agents to prevent or treat brain tumors.
About Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc.
Immunomic Therapeutics, Inc. (ITI) is a privately-held clinical stage biotechnology company pioneering the study of the LAMP-based nucleic acid immunotherapy platforms. These investigational technologies have the potential to alter how we use immunotherapy for cancer, allergies and animal health. ITI has entered into a significant licensing agreement with Astellas Pharma Inc. to explore the use of LAMP-Vax, the precursor to UNITE, an immunotherapy platform, for use in the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases. For information about ITI and UNITE technology, visit www.immunomix.com.
ITI’s investigational UNITE platform, or UNiversal Intracellular Targeted Expression, is thought to work by encoding the Lysosomal Associated Membrane Protein, an endogenous protein in humans. In this way, ITI’s vaccines (DNA or RNA) have the potential to utilize the body’s natural biochemistry to develop a broad immune response including antibody production, cytokine release and critical immunological memory. This approach could put UNITE technology at the crossroads of immunotherapies in a number of illnesses, including cancer, allergy and infectious diseases. UNITE is currently being employed in Phase II clinical trials as a cancer immunotherapy. ITI is also collaborating with academic centers and biotechnology companies to study the use of UNITE in cancer types of high mortality, including cases where there are limited treatment options like glioblastoma and acute myeloid leukemia. ITI believes that these early clinical studies may provide a proof of concept for UNITE therapy in cancer, and if successful, set the stage for future studies, including combinations in these tumor types and others. Preclinical data is currently being developed to explore whether LAMP nucleic acid constructs may amplify and activate the immune response in highly immunogenic tumor types and be used to create immune responses to tumor types that otherwise do not provoke an immune response.