SAN DIEGO – May 10, 2011 (Investorideas.com newswire) Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB: AEMD) reports it has submitted a request to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for a face-to-face meeting to discuss re-initiation of an Investigational Device Exemption (IDE) study of the Aethlon Hemopurifier® in the United States. Hemopurifier® is the first medical device to selectively target the removal of infectious viruses and immunosuppressive proteins from the entire circulatory system.
Aethlon management will present FDA officials with new clinical data that supports the safety of the Hemopurifier® and demonstrates the capability of the medical device to reduce viral load in individuals infected with the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Based on the data to be presented, Aethlon will request permission to expand the target treatment indications of the Hemopurifier® to include HCV in the U.S. At present, the treatment indication underlying the Aethlon IDE is solely directed toward the use of the Hemopurifier® as a countermeasure against bioterror and pandemic threats.
"Since submitting our IDE, we have expanded our collection of human safety data, which has also provided insight that our Hemopurifier® can have a substantial effect in reducing viral load in HCV-infected patients even in the absence of antiviral drugs," stated Jim Joyce, Chairman and CEO of Aethlon Medical. "These results combined with the emergence of a remarkable clinical validation for therapeutic filtration in HCV care provide a compelling basis for an FDA meeting to discuss and advance a potential clinical strategy to treat HCV-infected individuals in the United States."
The meeting with the FDA will provide a collaborative opportunity for Aethlon management to interact directly with Agency officials and to obtain guidance and input on advancing both its HCV and Medical Countermeasure indications in the U.S. Aethlon anticipates a meeting with FDA officials will likely occur in mid-summer.
The Company believes a significant and enduring opportunity exists for the Hemopurifier® as an adjunct to improve the benefit of current, forthcoming and future iterations of standard-of-care drug therapy (SOC) by accelerating viral load depletion in the first few days of HCV-SOC. The clinical validation for therapeutic filtration of HCV has been established by the VRAD system developed and marketed by Asahi Kasei Kuraray Medical in Japan. The early administration of VRAD in combination with HCV-SOC achieved 71.4% sustained virologic response rates (SVR) in HCV patients who previously failed HCV-SOC. These results were achieved through a once daily administration of VRAD for three consecutive days at the outset of SOC therapy. The average viral load reduction during each treatment period, which averaged 3 1/4 hours in duration, was 26.1%. In comparison, the Aethlon Hemopurifier® has demonstrated average viral load reductions of 64% during similar treatment timeframes in the absence of any drug therapy benefit. Aethlon is now actively advancing an adjunct study to demonstrate the ability of the Hemopurifier® to accelerate early viral load depletion in patients who initiate HCV-SOC. The study is being conducted at the Medanta Medicity Institute in Delhi, India.
The Hemopurifier® is also uniquely suited to treat HCV-infected End-stage renal disease (ESRD) patients, whose condition limits their ability to be treated with HCV-SOC. The incidence of HCV infection in ESRD patients is approximately 100-1000 times higher than that in the general population. Recent studies have clearly shown that HCV-infected ESRD patients on maintenance dialysis are at increased risk of liver-related mortality. A significant proportion develops chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and even hepatocellular carcinoma. Overall, chronic HCV patients on hemodialysis bear an increased risk of liver-related morbidity and mortality, either during dialysis or after renal transplantation. Interferon (IFN) therapy is modestly effective for the treatment of HCV infection in ESRD patients but is not recommended after renal transplantation due to the risk of acute graft rejection. Ribavirin is considered contraindicated for the treatment of ESRD patients with chronic hepatitis C because of the risk of life-threatening hemolytic anemia. A major advantage in treating HCV-infected ESRD patients with the Hemopurifier® is that the device adds no drug toxicity or interaction concerns and can be included in series with a patient's dialysis cartridge, thus adding no treatment burden beyond the patient's pre-established dialysis treatment schedule.
Aethlon further disclosed that it will begin discussions with the FDA on the regulatory requirements to obtain an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for the Hemopurifier® as a broad-spectrum countermeasure against untreatable viral threats that emerge naturally or are released by man as an agent of bioterrorism. The Project BioShield Act of 2004 permits the FDA Commissioner to authorize the use of an unapproved medical product during a declared emergency involving a heightened risk of attack on the public or U.S. military forces, or a significant potential to affect national security. The EUA authority allows the FDA Commissioner to strengthen the public health protections against biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear agents that may be used to attack the American people or the U.S. armed forces. The FDA Commissioner may allow medical countermeasures to be used in an emergency to diagnose, treat or prevent serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions caused by such agents, when there are no adequate, approved and available alternatives.
Aethlon believes the Hemopurifier®, which is the sole antiviral strategy to address drug and vaccine resistant viral pathogens, is well positioned to meet the U.S. government's urgent need for innovative new medical countermeasures that can be deployed during national health emergencies.
About Aethlon Medical
At Aethlon Medical, we create revolutionary devices to address infectious disease and cancer. Our devices are designed to be novel platform solutions that fill therapeutic voids or aid in disease diagnosis and monitoring.
Our Hemopurifier® is the first medical device to selectively target the removal of infectious viruses and immunosuppressive proteins from the entire circulatory system. We recently discovered that our Hemopurifier® captures tumor-secreted exosomes that suppress the immune system of those afflicted with cancer. Prior to this discovery, a therapeutic strategy to directly inhibit or reverse the immunosuppressive destruction caused by exosomes did not exist in cancer care. By eliminating this mechanism, we believe our Hemopurifier® can fill an unmet clinical need and provide the benefit of an immune-based therapy without adding drug toxicity or interaction risks to established and emerging treatment strategies.
Human studies have documented the ability of our Hemopurifier® to safely reduce viral load in both Hepatitis-C virus (HCV) and Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infected patients without the administration of antiviral drugs. However, our initial clinical and commercialization focus is to establish our Hemopurifier® as an adjunct therapy to enhance the benefit of both infectious disease and cancer treatment regimens. In this regard, we plan to commercialize our Hemopurifier® in India as we advance our clinical strategies in the United States and the European Union. In vitro studies conducted by government and non-government research institutes have also verified that our Hemopurifier® has broad-spectrum capabilities against bioterror and emerging pandemic threats. These studies have confirmed the capture of Dengue Hemorrhagic Virus, Ebola Hemorrhagic Virus, Lassa Hemorrhagic Virus, West Nile Virus, H5N1 Avian Influenza Virus, 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus, the reconstructed Spanish Flu of 1918 Virus, and Monkeypox Virus, which serves as a model for human Smallpox infection.
As a therapeutic device, the Hemopurifier® provides us with a pipeline into four significant market opportunities:
Cancer: A treatment candidate to improve patient responsiveness to established cancer therapies by removing immunosuppressive exosomes from circulation.
Hepatitis-C Virus (HCV): As an adjunct therapy to accelerate viral load reduction at the outset of standard of care drug regimens.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): Provides a potential therapeutic option for HIV-infected individuals to manage disease progression once they become resistant to antiviral drug regimens.
Bioterror and Pandemic Threats: Represents the most advanced broad-spectrum strategy to address untreatable bioterror and emerging pandemic threats.
The Hemopurifier® is an expansive multi-patented platform technology whose mechanism of action can be leveraged to provide therapeutic, diagnostic, and biomarker discovery solutions. As a therapeutic, the Hemopurifier® is a single-use disposable cartridge designed for implementation within the established infrastructure of dialysis machines and other blood circulatory pumps already located in hospitals and clinics worldwide.
In design, our Hemopurifier® is a selective filtration device containing affinity agents that tightly bind to high-mannose structures unique to the surface of exosomes produced by cancer and glycoproteins residing on the envelope of viruses. These agents are immobilized around approximately 2800 porous hollow fibers that run the interior length of our device. The resulting design provides us the novel ability to separate both exosome and viral targets away from blood cells so they can then be selectively and permanently removed from the circulatory system. In application, blood circulation is established into the Hemopurifier® via a catheter or other blood access device. Once blood flow has been established, treatment benefit is immediate as the entire circulatory system can pass through the Hemopurifier® in as little as 15 minutes.
Our wholly owned subsidiary, Exosome Sciences, Inc. (ESI) is focused on the development of exosome-targeted products and services that improve cancer diagnosis, provide post-treatment cancer surveillance, and aid in the discovery of biomarkers that allow doctors to optimize patient therapy. Additional information regarding Aethlon Medical and Exosome Sciences can be accessed online at www.aethlonmedical.com.
Certain of the statements herein may be forward-looking and involve risks and uncertainties. Such forward-looking statements involve assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Aethlon Medical, Inc. to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such potential risks and uncertainties include, without limitation, the company's ability to commercialize its Hemopurifier® in India, capability of the Hemopurifier® to reduce viral loads and other disease conditions or to identify or treat disease conditions such as cancer or Hepatitis-C, including the ability to capture exosomes and the impact that potential ability may have on disease conditions, the Company's ability to raise capital when needed, the Company's ability to complete the development of its planned products, the ability of the Company to obtain FDA and other regulatory approvals permitting the sale of its products, the Company's ability to manufacture its products either internally or through outside companies and provide its services, the impact of government regulations, patent protection on the Company's proprietary technology, product liability exposure, uncertainty of market acceptance, competition, technological change, and other risk factors. In such instances, actual results could differ materially as a result of a variety of factors, including the risks associated with the effect of changing economic conditions and other risk factors detailed in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.
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