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VGX Animal Health DNA Vaccine for Dogs Could Reduce Tumor Growth and Increase Survival
Date:6/17/2011

BLUE BELL, Pa., June 17, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: INO) announced today that its subsidiary VGX Animal Health, Inc., a developer of DNA-based vaccines and therapies for companion and food animals, has achieved strong T cell responses from VAH-5000D, its DNA vaccine encoding telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) for the treatment of dogs with cancer. This preclinical data was presented by Dr. Douglas Kern, DVM, VGX Animal Health's Vice President of Business Development, at VetHealth Global 2011, an international animal health conference.

In mouse experiments, vaccinations with a highly optimized TERT DNA vaccine delivered by electroporation induced strong TERT-specific T cell immune responses. Furthermore, vaccination with the TERT vaccine delayed the growth of implanted tumors in mice and increased the survival rate of mice with tumors.

"We are pleased to see promising results in animal trials with our optimized TERT vaccine for dogs," said Dr. Kern. "Because of the prevalence of TERT in tumors, we believe that a canine specific TERT vaccine could become the go-to 'universal' cancer vaccine for dogs."

TERT is a catalytic subunit of the enzyme telomerase. Telomerase lengthens telomeres, which are structures at the end of chromosomes (DNA strands in the nucleus of all cells). Telomeres protect the ends of chromosomes from destruction and normal cell death. The mammalian cell divides anywhere from 60-100 times throughout its life cycle. Each time this division occurs, telomeres are shortened until they no longer serve to protect the chromosome. This is the basis for the aging process in mammals. When telomerase begins to function abnormally, the cell can become immortal. This process is thought to be important in the development of several types of cancer. Human TERT (hTERT) has been proposed as a cancer-specific target, since
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SOURCE Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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