CEL-SCI Corp (NYSE:CVM) CEO on Successful Immunotherapy Cancer Treatment Trials
CEL-SCI Corp (NYSE:CVM) (FRA:LRSM) is a medical research company developing new immunotherapy treatments for cancer. CEO Geert Kersten provides an introduction to the company and an overview of CEL-SCI’s immunotherapy research and treatment developments. CEL-SCI has developed an immunotherapy treatment for cancer to be used during the period between diagnosis and surgery. Trials for the treatment show a 50 percent to 100 percent reduction in cancer cells. CEL-SCI is currently completing its Phase 3 trial, the largest ever for head and neck cancer, and had to extend the study due to increased patient health. Kersten emphasizes that the company’s treatment is the most cost-effective way of treating cancer and highlights CEL-SCI’s research into rheumatoid arthritis treatments.
Narrator: CEL-SCI Corporation is a biotechnology company involved in the research and development of immunotherapy products for the treatment of cancer, auto-immune and infectious diseases. The company’s core capabilities include drug discovery, research, development and manufacturing of complex biological substances.
CEL-SCI believes that boosting the patient’s immune system while it is still intact, could provide the greatest possible impact on survival.
The company has operations in Vienna, Virginia, and Baltimore, Maryland. CEL-SCI Corporation trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CVM.
Howard Glassman: [laughter] That’s funny. Apparently, everyone in the control room just liked that when I was talking about my experience. Listen, my friends: you may have the edge on the investment, but there’s nothing you can tell me about weed that I don’t know, because I’m old.
Hey! This is exciting. We’re going to switch gears a little bit. I’m fascinated to meet our guest. He is from – what, it doesn’t even – CEL-SCI. Geert Kersten from CEL-SCI Corporation.
Geert Kersten: Correct.
Howard Glassman: What a pleasure, sir.
Geert Kersten: And you did a good job. You pronounced my name and the company name correctly.
Howard Glassman: But I don’t have on this piece of paper, are you the CEO of this company?
Geert Kersten: I am, yeah.
Howard Glassman: Excellent, well, there you go. Now, let’s talk about boosting patients’ immune systems, because I think that’s a very interesting topic, and it’s what you guys have been involved in, and we’ll talk about why that’s so important to people.
Geert Kersten: What’s actually really interesting is, you don’t need to boost the immune system as long as you catch it before surgery/radiation/chemo. The reason people die from cancer is because you, the immune system cannot see the tumour. So you don’t need more police in Toronto, you need better intel for the police: What does the terrorist look like, where is the terrorist to be found, and all that stuff.
Our drug is the intel, and we apply our immune system drug right after diagnosis of your cancer, but before the immune system is destroyed by surgery –
Howard Glassman: Before it’s compromised.
Geert Kersten: Exactly.
Howard Glassman: Right.
Geert Kersten: That’s the key. The power of your immune system is incredible. So for example, I don’t think this has ever been seen – when we give our drug, we can only give it for three weeks because we’re not allowed to delay this for surgery; that might be harmful. So in these three weeks, though, we have 10 percent of people have zero cancer cells left – zero.
Howard Glassman: Amazing.
Geert Kersten: And the other ones have 50 percent less cancer cells. It’s – I don’t think that’s ever been seen. That’s not our drug, it is your immune system. We remove the shackles on the immune system.
Howard Glassman: Let’s talk a little – let’s back up. CEL-SCI Corporation, Geert Kersten is here. Let’s talk a little bit about how the body attacks, and how it reacts. I know from a past life that a lot of times, people who have inflammation in their body, part of the problem with things like tendinitis and those type of things is, the body can’t heal itself because scar tissue needs to be removed, and that’s why a lot of these things go, chronic pain lasts a long time.
So this is sort of a similar thing where you’re using the body’s natural immunology to fight these cells. And that’s why it’s so exciting.
Geert Kersten: Yes. You have the power, I have the power.
Howard Glassman: I have no power here.
Geert Kersten: You’re alive, that’s your power, right?
Howard Glassman: Yes, I am.
Geert Kersten: We have plenty of people much more screwed up than us, all right?
Howard Glassman: I don’t know about that. [laughter] But we’ll go along with it, sure.
Geert Kersten: But why medicine? The greatest medicine is your own immune system.
Howard Glassman: Yes.
Geert Kersten: So this is not some holistic vitamin, whatever. But we’re freeing up your immune system to see the tumour while it’s healthy. It can do what it’s designed to do. How else do you eliminate billions of cancer cells in three weeks? And this is not some hocus-pocus; this was published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, presented at ASCO.
Howard Glassman: I want to talk about some of the, you know, because it’s cancer immunotherapies, is what we’re talking about, and as you mentioned, they’re administered only after conventional therapies have been tried. What is this multikine, is that how I’m pronouncing it?
Geert Kersten: Yes.
Howard Glassman: Multikine, explain that.
Geert Kersten: You make cytokines, interleukins, interferons and growth factors, which by themselves are multi-billion-dollar products. But you don’t make one, you make all of them; it’s like a football team that are, you know, they work together. They regulate your immune system. We make a copy of that and we give it to cancer patients, and by the way, surprise, surprise, when you take something natural, it’s not toxic.
Howard Glassman: And it says you’ve received orphan drug designation from the FDA for the neo-adjuvant therapy in patients with squamous cell carcinoma. Now, this has got to be amazing news for people who are suffering.
Geert Kersten: Actually, as a matter of fact, I met two people today who have had head or neck cancer, and yes, they actually think so.
Howard Glassman: Yeah.
Geert Kersten: The last approval in our indication, which is advanced, meaning Stages 3 and 4, primary, not yet treated head and neck cancer, was 60 years ago by the FDA. And the Canadian regulators haven’t approved anything either, from what I know. Sixty years ago, that’s how much advance we’ve had. Every other patient will die within three years, even though we give them everything we have: surgery, radiation and chemo.
What if we can now add the immune system to it in a non-toxic manner, and suddenly have 60, 70 percent, right? Success rate.
Howard Glassman: And not to be flip; when you hear these tropes, cancer can be beaten, but this is the, this is what we’re talking about. These are the developments that are going to help us beat more and more types of cancer. And you are specific to head and neck cancer, in this?
Geert Kersten: Only initially.
Howard Glassman: Yeah, only initially. Not to be crass – how does this affect your company? It’s got to be amazing news.
Geert Kersten: Let me put it this way: we were the first in the world to focus on the immune system. Some other ones around the same time did too; they all went out of business, because until five years ago, people thought the immune system could not be used to fight cancer. Now, everybody thinks it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.
We have, however, do it on a quantum leap. All of the other drugs are used after you failed surgery, radiation, chemo; what’s left of you when it’s done?
Howard Glassman: So this is before you are compromised.
Geert Kersten: Exactly.
Howard Glassman: And once again, to say what you said at the beginning: it’s in that period prior to surgery when your immune system still has not been compromised. Prior to radiation, prior to all these things, that as you say, you know, if most drugs are a drug of a last resort, then by the time you get to the last resort, you’re in no shape to fight anything.
Geert Kersten: Exactly. You look at the successes in the space after surgery, radiation chemo – you extend life by a few months.
Howard Glassman: Wow.
Geert Kersten: Our goal is to help you eliminate the tumour. If it doesn’t come back, you lead a normal life. And by the way, it’s the most cost-effective way of treating, also. Because right up front, I fix it. I take care of it.
Howard Glassman: Right. And it’s a chain reaction of modalities that you will need less and less of as time goes on.
Geert Kersten: That is exactly right.
Howard Glassman: Geert Kersten, I gotta tell you, it’s interesting stuff, and I will say this: you’re the first person named Geert I’ve ever spoke to.
Geert Kersten: There are not many of us.
Howard Glassman: And I’ll tell you what: there’s very few Howards. Not a lot of Howards.
Geert Kersten: But I want to add one more thing.
Howard Glassman: Yes, anything.
Geert Kersten: We’re at the end of our final Phase III study. It’s been an eight-year clinical trial, the largest, as far as we know, in head and neck cancer, ever.
Howard Glassman: Ridiculous.
Geert Kersten: Nine hundred and twenty-eight patients, and we’ve been waiting for over two and a half years for the end point, and this sounds terrible, but we have to wait for 298 people to die in the two main groups. And we just had to extend the contracts with the people running the study, because we had expected them to have died already. So we are hopeful that the fact that they haven’t died yet, confirms the good results from our Phase II study.
Howard Glassman: Well, I know it sounds terrible, but in the development of miracle drugs, and the development of any drug, there is a cost – financially, and there’s a cost to people and patients. One of the other things that I think we should mention: the company’s LEAPS technology, currently being developed as a therapeutic vaccine for a lot of things – a lot of people in Canada, a lot of people watching, suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, and you have some news for them, as well.
Geert Kersten: Well, the very nice thing is, we are trying to reprogram the immune system that went bad. If you get rheumatoid arthritis, your immune system goes bad and attacks your own joints.
Howard Glassman: It’s a horrible, horrible thing.
Geert Kersten: So right now, most of the drugs basically seek to reduce the inflammation.
Howard Glassman: Right.
Geert Kersten: We’re trying to change the underlying reason for the disease. We’re trying to change, and on animal models we’ve successfully done so, we’re trying to reprogram the immune system back to where it should be. Then it will no longer attack your own joints, and you don’t have to worry about inflammation.
Howard Glassman: Well, it is great stuff. We thank you for coming in. Geert Kersten, the CEO of CEL-SCI Corporation. Any final thoughts, any final things you’d like our audience to know?
Geert Kersten: It’s a long journey, it always is. There are no shortcuts. In the end, data speaks for itself. Once the data’s out, we will be measured by only that one thing, and I think we’re right. That’s the bottom line.
Howard Glassman: CEL-SCI Corp., on the stock exchange, on the NYSE, is CVM if that’s of interest to you. Thank you for coming in, sir, I really appreciate it. What a pleasure.
Geert Kersten: Thank you so much, Howard.
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