Kancera initiates the development of a vaccine against ROR to prevent relapse of cancer


Kancera reports that the company is initiating the development of a vaccine directed against ROR. This initiative is motivated by the residual disease in the form of a small number of cancer cells that remain in some patients despite treatment. These cancer cells are difficult to detect and are expected to contribute to relapse of cancer disease. In the most common form of leukemia (CLL) these remaining cancer cells often express ROR. A vaccine makes the patient’s own immune system to recognize and kill these ROR-expressing cancer cells. Thus it is expected that a vaccine will add to the suppression of the disease leading to a longer and healthier life for the patient.

Kancera considers it possible that, by the means of a vaccine, act in synergy with pharmaceutical intervention, surgery and radiation to create a long lasting effect of the treatment given initially. It is Kanceras strategy to use its future small-molecule ROR inhibitors as a first line treatment for the disease and thereafter follow with a prophylactic ROR vaccine to prevent relapse. Thus, there are possible synergies between Kancera´s small molecule products and the vaccine against ROR .
Current research on ROR has led to the discovery of surface elements, on the ROR molecule, that are suitable for the development of an effective vaccine. Kancera now takes these findings further to develop a proprietary product for prophylactic treatment that will improve the situation for patients with a cancer known to relapse. The development of this product is accelerated by Kancera´s existing knowledge of ROR and the close collaboration with Professor Håkan Mellstedt, at the Karolinska Institute, who is an internationally recognized expert in the development of cancer vaccines. The principle to use a ROR vaccine for treatment is also supported by a preclinical study published by Professor Thomas Kipps at the University of California, San Diego.
In 2014, studies are planned to demonstrate both the immune stimulating performance of the vaccine and its therapeutic effect. A vaccine drug candidate is expected to be delivered in 2015. The vaccine development costs during 2014 are accommodated within the existing budget, due to the synergies between the company’s development of small molecules and vaccines.

About the ROR project
ROR is a family of receptors, ROR 1 and ROR 2. The ROR receptors mediate signals for growth and survival. Originally ROR was linked to fetal development, but it is now known that they also contribute to cancer cell development and proliferation. Professor Håkan Mellstedt, Kancera´s co-founder and professor at the Karolinska Institute, and his colleagues have shown that Kancera´s ROR inhibitors have the ability to kill cells from tumors in pancreas, and leukemia cells. Professor Mellstedt and his colleagues as well as independent researchers have shown that ROR is also active as a target in prostate, breast, skin and lung cancer.

Because ROR primarily generates a survival and growth signal to tumor cells but is inactive in healthy cells in adults, there are good prospects that a drug directed against ROR hit the tumor much harder than the surrounding healthy cells. Kancera and Professor Mellstedt have shown that inhibition of ROR leads to that cancer cells eliminate themselves by cellular suicide. Against this background, there are reasons to anticipate that a ROR-targeted drug is both safer and more effective than several chemotherapies currently used to treat cancer.

About Kancera AB (publ)
Kancera develops the basis for new therapeutics, starting with new treatment concepts and ending with the sale of a drug candidate to international pharmaceutical companies. Kancera is currently developing drugs for the treatment of leukemia and solid tumors, based on blocking survival signals in the cancer cell and on addressing cancer metabolism. Kancera’s operations are based in the Karolinska Institutet Science Park in Stockholm and the company employs around 7 people. Kancera shares are traded on NASDAQ OMX First North and are held by around 1900 shareholders as of 30th December 2013. Remium Nordic AB is Kancera’s Certified Adviser.

For additional information, please contact:
Thomas Olin, CEO: Tel +46 735 20 40 01
Kancera AB
Karolinska Institutet Science Park
Banvaktsvägen 22,
SE 171 48 Solna,
Please visit the company’s web www.kancera.com