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Ambovex® as a novel immunological modulator drug for the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the liver: a Phase II clinical trial

Authors Salama H, Ahmad H, Elchagea I, Zekri A, Medhat E, Bahnassy A, Lange M, Rabbat M, de la Torre A, Punamiya P

Received 9 December 2014

Accepted for publication 3 February 2015

Published 22 June 2015 Volume 2015:2 Pages 79—89


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Junji Furuse

Hosny Salama,1 Hassan Ahmad,2 Ismail Elchagea,2 Abdel Rahman Zekri,2,3 Eman Medhat,1 Abeer Bahnassy,3 Michael Lange,4 Mohammed Rabbat,4 Andrew N de la Torre,4 Pravin Punamiya,2

1Hepatology Department, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt; 2AMKS Time Release LLC, Montclair, NJ, USA; 3National Cancer Institute, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt; 4Saint Joseph Hospital, Paterson, NJ, USA

Abstract: Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is a global public health problem, based on it being the fifth most common cancer and third leading cause of cancer-related mortality worldwide. The approved conventional treatment methods for HCC have shown life-threatening side effects with limited or negligible success, especially in multifocal HCC. As a consequence, new therapeutic approaches are being explored, including immunoregulatory molecules that may have the potential to treat or delay the progression of HCC. A novel pharmaceutical botanical drug – Ambovex®, an immune-modulator molecule – was tested to treat or delay the progress of HCC. We conducted a 6-month randomized clinical trial with an additional 3-month washing period (no treatment) to evaluate the safety and efficacy of low-dose Ambovex oral spray in treating patients with HCC. The clinical study involved a total of 40 patients, with 33 in the treatment group and seven in the control group. The α-fetoprotein (AFP) levels were measured every month and ultrasound scans were performed at time zero and every 2 months thereafter. Computed tomography (CT) scans were performed for patients in the treatment group. Ambovex proved to be safe, as there were no significant side effects although some patients found that the drug has unpleasant taste. AFP analysis showed a significant decrease in its level (α=0.05; 95% confidence interval) in the treatment group when compared to the control group at 3 months (P=0.0031) and at 6 months (P=0.007). The ultrasound results showed improvement in the treated group, as evidenced by a significant decrease in the lesion numbers and sizes. The lesions in 38% of treated patients decreased from multiple to single with major improvements; 35% of patients exhibited a decrease from multiple lesions to multiple lesions with minor improvements, whereas 27% had stabilized lesions. CT scans in the treated group showed significant improvement, as there was complete disappearance of the lesions after 6 months of treatment with Ambovex in two patients. This clinical study showed the effective and promising results of Ambovex as an immunological modulator in treating HCC. Further exploration of Ambovex is recommended.

Keywords: hepatocellular carcinoma, immunological modulator, Ambovex, novel treatment

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