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Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Medical Technology News: Medical Technology The Role of Aethlon Medical (OTCQB: AEMD) in the Emerging Immuno-Oncology Market; Q&A with Aethlon Chairman and CEO, Jim Joyce

Point Roberts, WA, NEW YORK, NY - June 10, 2014 ( newswire), a global news source covering leading sectors including biotech and medical technology issues a Q&A interview with Mr. James A. Joyce ,Chairman and CEO of Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB:AEMD).

How did Aethlon Medical become involved in cancer research?
A: James A. Joyce, Chairman, CEO
Several years ago, we made a bet that particles known as exosomes, were released by tumors to suppress the immune system of cancer patients. We believed that exosomes triggered the death of the immune cells you need to combat cancer. That cancer deployed exosomes as a mechanism to survive and proliferate. It is important to recognize that when we initiated our exosome research programs, the medical community viewed these particles as nothing more than cellular debris with no biological function.
Our second bet was that our Hemopurifier, the same Hemopurifer that has been utilized in the treatment of HIV and hepatitis c infected individuals, could capture tumor-secreted exosomes underlying a wide range of cancers. As it turns out, we were right on both accounts. Exosomes suppress the immune system and can be captured by our Hemopurifier. As a result, we are positioned to address a significant unmet medical need in cancer care. However, to leverage our opportunity in cancer we needed a market for immune-based therapies to emerge. Fortunately, the growing interest in immune-based therapies has now triggered an Immuno-Oncology industry explosion.
Can you describe the Immuno-Oncology industry?
A: James A. Joyce ,Chairman, CEO
The Immuno-Oncology industry is based on therapies that augment or train the immune system to better combat cancer. The long-term goal of the Immuno-Oncology industry is to eliminate the need for toxic chemotherapy and radiation in cancer care. In fact, I suspect mankind will someday look back in disbelief at the barbaric use of chemo and radiation. Regardless, huge bets are being made that Immuno-Oncology will revolutionize the cancer field. Analysts at Citigroup predict the Immuno-Oncology market, which basically didn't exist two years ago, will reach $35 billion per year. This prediction is further reinforced by the fact that Merck, Bristol-Myers, AstraZeneca and Roche alone have already initiated more than 78 immune-based clinical studies.
What Immuno-Oncology role do you feel Aethlon Medical will play?
A: James A. Joyce ,Chairman, CEO
We believe Hemopurifier therapy should play a central role in the Immuno-Oncology marketplace. Especially if you consider that as a device, our Hemopurifier can be combined to improve the benefit of other therapies without adding drug toxicity. It's not hard to envision that the elimination of tumor-secreted exosomes from circulation would improve the ability for immune-based drugs to combat cancer. From a mechanistic standpoint, combining a drug that stimulates the immune response with a device that inhibits immune-suppression would seem to be the perfect therapeutic marriage.
Why are tumor-secreted exosomes an important cancer therapy target?
A: James A. Joyce ,Chairman, CEO
Last month, researchers from Harvard, Massachusetts General and Oxford published an article that discussed why tumor-secreted exosomes are cancer therapy targets. The article referenced the current knowledge that exosomes promote cancer progression by suppressing the immune system. However, that's just the beginning as the researchers also pointed to evidence that exosomes trigger resistance to drug therapies, that they play a role in allowing tumors to create their own blood supply for survival, and that they are seeds that allow for the creation and spread of cancer metastasis. The article also validated another original belief of ours; that the level of tumor-secreted exosomes in circulation correlates with the stage of cancer progression. In other words, if you don't have cancer, tumor-secreted exosomes won't be present. However, if you have advanced-stage cancer, they will be present in massive quantities. Based on this knowledge, it’s possible that circulating exosome load will someday become an industry standard for monitoring cancer progression in much the same way circulating viral load is the standard for monitoring infectious disease progression. Regardless, the article only referenced one company with a therapeutic strategy to address tumor-secreted exosomes. That was Aethlon Medical. Oh, and by the way, the authors of the article were sponsored by the National Cancer Institute.
Is there anything else about tumor-secreted exosomes that we should know?
A: James A. Joyce ,Chairman, CEO
Yes, tumor-secreted exosomes have been discovered to transport PD-1, which is perhaps the most important target of drug companies advancing immuno-oncology therapies. In fact, the latest scientific literature seems to suggest that exosomes may be providing a transport mechanism for many pharmaceutical industry targets as a means for them to proliferate below the surveillance of the immune system.
Based on the opportunity in cancer care, are you moving away from the infectious disease market?
A: James A. Joyce ,Chairman, CEO
The rapidly emerging opportunity in cancer allows us to expand the utility of Hemopurifier therapy. It does not replace our infectious disease endeavors, which is evidenced by plans to launch the first FDA approved study of Hemopurifier therapy in hepatitis c (HCV) patients. We believe that drug resistance and viral mutation will continue to drive opportunities for us in the HIV and HCV space and we also recognize that the proven broad-spectrum capabilities of Hemopurifier therapy provides a backdrop to address viral pathogens that remain untreatable with drug or vaccine therapies. However, I won't be surprised if it’s our ability to capture tumor-secreted exosomes that drives broad awareness of Hemopurifier therapy among both the medical and investment community.
About Aethlon Medical .( OTCBB:AEMD ).and Jim Joyce:
Aethlon Medical creates therapeutic devices to address infectious disease, cancer and other life-threatening conditions. The Company's lead product is the Aethlon Hemopurifier®, an extracorporeal device that addresses a broad-spectrum of viral pathogens as well as tumor-secreted exosomes. Jim Joyce is the founder, Chairman and CEO of Aethlon Medical.
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