Texas Rangers' Pitcher Michael Kirkman Diagnosed with Recurrence of Skin Cancer

Return reflects challenges in treatment of solid tumor cancers and the need for better therapeutic delivery.

Almost a year ago, the Texas Rangers' left-hander Michael Kirkman completed treatment for skin cancer, but the team announced on June 10 that the 26-year-old has been diagnosed with a recurrence of cutaneous lymphoma on his right triceps following a recent screening. According to MLB.com, Kirkman will undergo radiation treatment and has been placed on the disabled list, with the hope that he will be able to continue throwing and potentially rejoin the team in just a few weeks.

The recurrence of Kirkman's lymphoma reflects that the treatment of solid tumor cancers-ranging from cutaneous T-cell lymphoma to melanoma to Merkel cell carcinoma-is a major challenge. The ideal approach to treating advanced skin cancers is to target the tumor locally without affecting any of the surrounding healthy tissue, to ensure that a drug or other therapeutic agent is immediately absorbed by the cancer cells and stimulating a desired immune response. OncoSec Medical Inc. has developed a delivery system, called the OncoSec Medical System (OMS), to address these challenges.

OMS works by applying a brief electric field to a living cell, causing a temporary opening of pores in the cell's outer membrane. These pores close a few minutes after the electric field is discontinued. By creating these membrane pores, the cell's permeability is temporarily increased 1000-fold, and a drug or other agent injected into the area can flow into the cell much more easily.

The OMS was designed to be used in a type of therapy known as ImmunoPulse, in which electroporation is used in tandem with a substance known to boost the human immune system against cancer cells, to locally deliver an immunotherapy. OncoSec's lead drug candidate is DNA-based interleukin-12 (IL-12). In a Phase 1 clinical trial for metastatic melanoma, ImmunoPulse demonstrated both safety and efficacy, with 53% of patients exhibiting objective response and 16% of patients exhibiting complete regression.

In 2012, OncoSec launched three Phase 2 clinical trials using ImmunoPulse in three types of cancer-metastatic melanoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. In interim data from the Phase 2 melanoma trial, 95% of treated lesions showed some response to the treatment by day 39.

Targeted cancer therapies, such as those currently under development at OncoSec Medical, offer a potential new approach to the treatment of solid tumor cancers.

For more information, please visit www.oncosec.com.