Curing the C-Word: Dr. Amit Kumar of Anixa Biosciences and His Breast Cancer Vaccine

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
Published on April 17, 2024

The C-word — cancer — is never one you want to hear when you’re waiting for a diagnosis at the doctor’s office. But the reality is that 1 in 8 American women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime, meaning chances are you know someone, or will know someone, who’s directly affected by this disease. The good news? Scientists like Amit Kumar, PhD, the CEO of Anixa Biosciences (ANIX:NASDAQ), are developing a breast cancer vaccine. The even better news? The vaccine has undergone initial human trials and is showing encouraging results, marking a significant breakthrough in how cancer could be treated and prevented in the future.

A Breast Cancer Breakthrough

In December 2023, Anixa released results from its breast cancer vaccine’s Phase 1 clinical trial. “Anixa is working on a breast cancer vaccine specifically designed to target triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), which is the most lethal form,” explained Amit. “We’ve been able to test [the breast cancer vaccine] on 16 women [and] the data looks incredibly promising. All 16 women had an immune response, meaning that after vaccination, their immune systems have been taught to destroy cancer cells.” 

These women, all TNBC survivors with a high risk of developing the cancer again, received three injections given once every two weeks. The ramifications of these tests could have a life-saving impact on the (on average) 42,000 American women who succumb to breast cancer annually. Amit shared his vision, stating, “Eventually, we want to extend it to all women who’ve never had cancer to try and prevent the initial onset of cancer. […] If there was a way to prevent [cancer] by just taking some shots, it would be pretty amazing.”

He continued, “And it wouldn’t only save millions of people’s lives, but it would impact all their family members as well and save gillions of dollars for the healthcare infrastructure. For example, I have two daughters, and I would love to be able to give them a shot and know that they’re never going to have to worry about getting breast cancer.”

But It’s Not Just Breast Cancer 

If researchers like Amit can develop a breast cancer vaccine, then why not for other forms of cancer, too? Well, Anixa is currently utilizing a similar mechanism of action to develop a vaccine to prevent the occurrence of ovarian cancer.

According to Amit, “That program is progressing as well. It is still in the animal stages at the current time. We hope to bring that into human testing within a year or a year and a half, plus or minus. Right now, we’re doing all of the animal studies that are necessary to take it to the FDA to enable them to give us approval to begin human testing.”

Backed by decades of research, this is one of the first times we’ve seen a vaccine that can potentially treat multiple forms of cancer. “What we are doing is a new approach that is very different and takes advantage of the decades of knowledge that we have gained on infectious disease vaccines,” began Amit.

He continued, “In essence, we teach the human body to think of cancer cells, not as cells that came out of your own body, but as if they were a foreign invading pathogen. Because cancer vaccines have been so unsuccessful in the past, there’s always a little bit of skepticism. But now that we’re starting to show data, there are people saying, ‘Hey, this could be something.’”

Final Thoughts 

Ultimately, a breakthrough of this caliber is more than just “something.” It is a complete re-writing of what we have known to be true with diseases like cancer. In this relentless pursuit of conquering cancer, Amit Kumar, along with a large and impressive team, stands at the forefront of innovation, driving forward with this groundbreaking work on various cancer vaccines. With each milestone achieved, he not only offers hope to countless individuals but also presents a glimpse into a cancer-free future — a world where the C-word is no longer synonymous with fear and pain but rather with courage, triumph, and resilience.

By Spencer Hulse Spencer Hulse has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team

Spencer Hulse is the Editorial Director at Grit Daily. He is responsible for overseeing other editors and writers, day-to-day operations, and covering breaking news.

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