SAN DIEGO, May 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB: AEMD), the pioneer in developing selective therapeutic filtration devices to address infectious disease, cancer and other life-threatening conditions, reported today that the presence of Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is currently undetectable in all infected patients that have been treated with the Aethlon Hemopurifier® in combination with peginterferon+ribavirin (PR) drug therapy and monitored for at least ninety days.
In a study conducted at the Medanta Medicity Institute (Medicity), HCV-infected individuals were enrolled to receive up to three, six-hour Hemopurifier® treatments during the first three days of PR drug therapy. The Medicity is a $360 million multi-specialty medical institute established to be a premier center for medical tourism in India. The Aethlon Hemopurifier® is a first-in-class medical device that selectively targets the rapid clearance of HCV from the entire circulatory system to improve benefit, dose, duration and tolerability of drug therapies.
In the Medicity study, Aethlon reported that Hemopurifier® therapy has been well tolerated and without device-related adverse events in nine treated patients. Of these nine patients, six patients were infected with HCV genotype-1; two patients were infected with HCV genotype-3; and one patient was infected with HCV genotype-5. Of the nine reported patients, seven have been monitored for more than ninety days. All seven currently maintain undetectable viral load, including three patients who have been monitored for 48-weeks. Two patients initiated Hemopurifier® therapy on April 18th and April 30th, and therefore have not yet been monitored for extended viral load suppression.
The Immediate Impact of Hemopurifier® Therapy
In addition to demonstrating safety and early efficacy against multiple HCV genotypes, a clinical objective of the Medicity study was to evaluate whether the Hemopurifier® could accelerate HCV eradication to levels associated with treated patients who achieve the highest rate of viral cure, including individuals that previously failed or relapsed PR drug regimens. In the study, Aethlon observed that viral load depletion during the Hemopurifier® + PR drug therapy phase was greatest in hard-to-treat genotype-1 patients with high viral load. In one treated patient, baseline HCV RNA dropped from 5,800,000 IU/ml to 1,840 IU/ml when measured after the third day of Hemopurifier® + PR therapy, representing a 3.49 log or 99.96% reduction of viral load. In another patient, baseline HCV RNA dropped from 8,760,000 IU/ml to 4,665 IU/ml when measured on day-3, representing a 3.27 log or 99.96% reduction. By contrast, a moderate viral load Hemopurifier® patient with baseline HCV RNA of 1,340,000 IU/ml dropped to 54,900 IU/ml when measured on day-3, representing a 1.38 log or 95.9% reduction.
As a point of reference, the landmark IDEAL Study of 3,070 HCV genotype-1 patients documented that less than 5% of treated patients will achieve a 2-log or greater reduction of viral load when measured 7-days after the start of PR drug therapy. While the IDEAL study did not report day-3 viral load, a 2-log+ reduction at day-7 is a rare occurrence defined as an immediate virologic response (IVR). The IDEAL study confirms the viral cure or sustained virologic response rate of IVR patients to be greater than 90%. Based on Medicity treatment outcomes, Hemopurifier® therapy had a significant impact in accelerating HCV eradication in high viral load patients.
Capacity of the Hemopurifier® to Capture HCV During Treatment
As the result of discussions with reviewers at the Center for Devices and Radiological Health (the FDA branch responsible for approving medical devices in the US), Aethlon recently expanded the Medicity protocol to establish a data point that would quantify the amount of HCV captured within the Hemopurifier® during a single treatment. In one analyzed cartridge, researchers recovered and measured that approximately 300 billion (300,000,000,000) copies of HCV had been captured within the Hemopurifier® during a single six-hour treatment at the Medicity. Beyond the impact of inhibiting progeny virus replication, the viral capture data point defines the contribution Hemopurifier® therapy can provide to current and future antiviral drug treatment regimens. Aethlon considers this data point to be unprecedented as the previous ability to measure the benefit of HCV therapies has primarily been limited to measuring changes in the amount of virus that can be detected in circulation.
As a result of Hemopurifier® + PR therapy outcomes, Aethlon has requested permission from the Medicity internal review board (IRB) to begin offering Hemopurifier® therapy to HCV-infected individuals that reside outside of India. The Company has also requested IRB permission to expand the treatment protocol to allow for up to seven Hemopurifier® treatments to be administered during the first week of PR drug therapy. Based on previous three-treatment protocol outcomes, Aethlon anticipates an expanded Hemopurifier® dosing schedule could establish new milestones for early undetectable viral load achievement. The Company also disclosed it will resubmit an investigational device exemption (IDE) which incorporates the Medicity data as part of its effort to gain FDA approval to initiate clinical programs in the U.S.
It is estimated that approximately 4 million Americans and 170 million people worldwide are infected with HCV, which leads to chronic liver disease or cirrhosis, and is the leading cause of liver transplant in the U.S. To date, almost 100 Hemopurifier® treatments have been administered in human studies. Previously, studies of the Hemopurifier® have been conducted at the Apollo, Fortis, and Sigma New Life hospitals in India. These studies demonstrated that Hemopurifier® therapy could safely reduce viral load in both HIV and HCV-infected dialysis patients without the administration of antiviral drug therapies. The Medicity study represents the first Hemopurifier® study in non-dialysis patients. In vitro studies have further validated the ability of the Hemopurifier® to capture a broad-spectrum of viral pathogens classified as bioterror or pandemic threats.
About Aethlon Medical
The Aethlon Medical mission is to create innovative medical devices that address unmet medical needs in cancer, infectious disease, and other life-threatening conditions. Our Aethlon ADAPT™ System is a revenue-stage technology platform that provides the basis for a new class of therapeutics that target the selective removal of disease enabling particles from the entire circulatory system. The Aethlon ADAPT™ product pipeline includes the Aethlon Hemopurifier® to address infectious disease and cancer; HER2osome™ to target HER2+ breast cancer, and a medical device being developed under a contract with DARPA that would reduce the incidence of sepsis in combat-injured soldiers and civilians. For more information, please visit www.aethlonmedical.com.
Certain 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, that the FDA will not approve the initiation of the Company's clinical programs or provide market clearance of the company's products, future human studies of the Aethlon ADAPT™ system or the Aethlon Hemopurifier® as an adjunct therapy to improve patient responsiveness to established cancer therapies, the Company's ability to raise capital when needed, the Company's ability to complete the development of its planned 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. These statements, including patient data, are based on information currently available to the Company's management and future patient results may differ from present results. The Company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.
James A. Joyce
Chairman and CEO
Chief Financial Officer
SOURCE Aethlon Medical, Inc.