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AVICINE was developed by Sarepta Therapeutics. It is a cancer vaccine which was created to cause an immune reaction to the tumor associated antigen, human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

This vaccine will be designed to work by actively stimulating immunization amongst tumor cells, or tumor associated antigens. These can be the keys to unlocking the cancer cells, making way for the therapeutic values of AVICINE.

Research behind the drug[edit]

This particular vaccine is a synthesized formulation of peptides developed to create an unstable environment for the hCG-producing cancer cells. By joining them together with diphtheria toxoids, the AVICINE peptide formulation is able to cause a specific immune response to hCG which won’t interfere with related glycoprotein hormones.

Common elements between pregnancy and cancer[edit]

During pregnancy, women naturally generate the hCG hormone, leading scientists to believe it stimulates growth and protects the developing fetus from auto-immune attack, therefore making the pregnancy successful. Cancer cells are believed to produce hCG for the same reasons. In both Cancer and Pregnancy hCG :

  • encourages rapid cell division
  • musters development/reaction and tissue invasion
  • promotes formation of blood vessels
  • Allows tumor or fetus to cancel rejection by suppressing the immune system

An anti-hCG vaccine would result in an immune attack on tumor cells, as well as prevent them from benefiting from hCG production.

Clinical Studies[edit]

AVICINE has been shown to be effective in blocking fertility, suggesting that it should also work in fighting cancer. These studies also note that the drug will help in patient survival.