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Antigenics advances herpes vaccine

Tue, 07/27/2010 - 10:36am
Mass High Tech: The Journal of New England Technology

Antigenics says it has achieved positive results in an early stage human trial for a potential herpes vaccine. A vaccine, if approved, would be a blockbuster pharmaceutical product - 60 million Americans are infected with herpes simplex virus-2, more commonly known as genital herpes.

Officials at the Lexington-based company say the findings show that Antigenics’ proprietary vaccine platform that is focused on so-called heat shock proteins, which are found in all cells and play a role in helping the immune system to recognize diseased cells. While the initial focus of development has been in HSV-2, Antigenics says the technology platform can potentially be utilized for treatment of many types of infectious diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, malaria and tuberculosis.

The potential vaccine would treat, not prevent, herpes. However the treatment, if effective, would decrease transmission of the disease.

The Phase 1 study included 35 patients who had tested positive for herpes simplex virus - 2. The study showed that the majority of patients had two types of immune system responses to the vaccine.

In January, Antigenics said it would seek European, but not U.S., approval for its potential cancer vaccine, Oncophage.

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