Cancer is a leading cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease. It is so ubiquitous that most individuals have a story of how cancer has touched and affected their lives.
As cancer claims the lives of more people each and every year, the development of preventative and therapeutic care becomes more prevalent.
One major area of focus for us here at Kerrisdale Capital is research in the biotechnology sector. I, Sahm Adrangi, am the CIO of Kerrisdale Capital. As a short activist at Kerrisdale Capital, I publish our findings on Kerrisdale Capital’s website.
Sahm Adrangi on types of cancer vaccines
Cancer vaccines are a specific type of immunotherapy that helps your immune system target and attack cells that resemble cancer cells. Cancer cells can closely resemble the cells that naturally occur in your body, which has made it incredibly difficult to develop vaccines to prevent or treat cancers.
Preventive Cancer Vaccines
The development of many cancers is the result of acquiring specific viral infections. Preventable vaccines limit your risks for infection and results in preventing associated cancers. The FDA has approved these four existing vaccines.
- Ceravix – a vaccine used in preventing the contraction of two strains of HPV (types 16 and 18) which can cause anal, head and neck, vaginal, cervical, vulvular, and vaginal cancers.
- Gardasil – a vaccine used in preventing the contraction of four strains of HPV (types 1, 6, 16 and 18) which can cause anal, head and neck, vaginal, cervical, vulvular, and vaginal cancers.
- Gardasil-9 – a vaccine that prevents 9 strains of HPV. It minimizes risks of infection of types 16, 18, 31, 33, 45, 52 and 58 while also preventing genital warts from types 6 and 11. The vaccine limits risks for anal, head and neck, vaginal, cervical, vulvular, and vaginal cancers.
- Hepatitis B Vaccine – a vaccine that protects against hepatitis B virus which is responsible for the development of liver cancer.
Therapeutic Cancer Vaccines
Each person’s tumor is unique in a sense and has specific antigens, which are markers on the cells that can be identified by the body’s immune system. Cancer antigens typically have extremely similar structure to those of normal, healthy cells.
Scientists have developed two sophisticated vaccines. Both created to target and eliminate the specific antigens.
- Bacillus Calmette-Guerin – a vaccine used in the early stages of bladder cancer using weakened bacteria to enhance the body’s immune system
- Sipuleucel-T – a vaccine used for treatment of prostate cancer using the patient’s own dendritic cells
Personalized Neoantigen Vaccines
Tumors can also arise to display unique markers that result from mutations, also referred to as neoantigens. These antigens are only present in the tumor and none of the body’s healthy cells.
These vaccines would potentially be specifically made to target the cancer cells while leaving healthy cells alone, which means less or no side effects. There are several types that are currently being researched in clinical trials with promising results.
Sahm Adrangi on cancer vaccine development
Treating cancer with vaccines proves to be a challenging field of investigation. As the years pass, the lack of effective and active immunotherapies has led to the development of a number of novel strategies.
Despite broadcast achievements, some criticism of clinical trials have been made. Discrepancies in some studies include lack of effective control groups, choice of low-risk patients, and not enough data to undoubtedly secure claims.
As Sahm Adrangi of Kerrisdale Capital, we have focused our efforts on examining developments in biotechnology, and have covered topics such as cancer vaccines. In an effort to inform the public, Kerrisdale Capital publishes our findings on businesses that we expect to succeed or fail.
Learn More About the Author: Sahm Adrangi
Sahm Adrangi, CIO and founder of Kerrisdale Capital Management, holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Yale University. He started his career in finance advising creditor committees out-of-court restructuring situations at Chanin Capital Partners. Soon after, he made a name for himself exposing fraudulent Chinese companies. Several of Adrangi’s targets were subject to enforcement actions from the Securities and Exchange Commission.