Prof. Slavin is now serving as the medical director of HepC Therapeutics, Budapest, Hungary in partnership with ProBioGen, Berlin, Germany is now involved in clinical application of another poultry virus for treatment of COVID-19. This new virus, an attenuated infectious bursal disease virus (IBDV) for post-exposure treatment of patients infected with SARS-CoV-2 can be applied orally or intra-nasally and is harmless in man. The Berlin-based company, ProBioGen, a company devoted to Intelligent Biopharmaceutical Solutions, prepared reversely engineered virus (R903/78), now available for experimental treatment of COVID-19. It is acid-resistant virus and therefore can be applied and absorbed systemically as an oral solution or applied as nose drops with no need to be injected. In contrast to the available vaccines used to protect individuals from a disease caused by SARS-CoV-2, R903/78 that can be applied for treatment of COVID-19 after SARS-CoV-2 infection was already applied successfully in the past for treatment against other viral infections, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. The mechanism of anti-viral effects of R903/78 is based on its capacity to induce activation of type 1 interferons, Mother Nature natural mechanism for protection against viral infections and this is why treatment with the same R903/78 could be applied safely not only for the treatment of COVID-19 as well as COVID-19 mutations, but also against any future viral epidemics and possibly also against other diseases caused by currently incurable hazardous viral infection such as HIV-1 causing AIDS, Ebola or hepatitis B, and possibly also certain cancers caused by viral infections such as liver cancer (hepatoma) caused by hepatitis B or C. Being in the cutting age of therapeutic procedures that can be mediated by harmless viruses, Prof. Slavin has been appointed as the Medical Director of the HepC Therapeutics and ProBioGen joint venture. Currently pilot clinical trials are being considered for post-exposure treatment of patients at risk with documented SARS-CoV-2 infection.
After gaining clinical experience using bone marrow, placenta and cord tissue-derived mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs),as well as the cumulative experience of more than 500 patients for over 10 years, we decided to investigate the potential therapeutic effects of MSCs’ excretory exosomes. These contain many of the therapeutic components that exist in MSCs, especially microRNAs, which are documented to play important biological roles in upregulating and down-regulating gene expression. Furthermore, they play a role in differentiating multi-potent stem cells into cells resembling other tissues. In order to investigate whether we can accomplish clinical benefits using exosomes instead of intact MSCs (which secrete exosomes in vivo), we have to study the effects of exosomes in pre-clinical animal models.
Starting in March 2020 we approached Pharmaseed, a company that has the capacity to perform studies in pre-clinical animal models. We decided to start investigating the clinical effects of exosomes in an animal model of psoriasis with topical application of exosomes on skin lesions. These are created by experimental psoriasis and in an animal model of multiple sclerosis known as experimental autoimmune encephalitis (EAE). After investigating the optimal experimental approach for inducing psoriasis, on one hand, and inducing EAE on the other, we are now in contact with several potential sources of scalable amounts of exosomes. These will allow us to accomplish the desirable investigations on the potential therapeutic effects of a medicinal product, exosomes, instead of cellular products which always face complex regulatory approval.
Prof. Slavin and his team have recently discovered a new oncolytic virus derived from chicken’s Newcastle disease virus (NDV). NDV is dangerous for chickens but harmless in man. Different members of the large NDV family are already in clinical use for many years and the potential efficacy of NDV to control otherwise incurable brain cancer, glioblastoma, has been documented. The first two successfully treated patients, one young man 24 year ago and one young woman 23 years ago are still alive and well after failing every known treatment of recurrent glioblastoma. Unfortunately, clinical efficacy of treatment with NDV could only be documented only in a small fraction of patients treated with NDV although all recipients confirmed that the treatment was harmless. This is why treatment of cancer with the available NDVs has never been considered the treatment of choice for glioblastoma, not as treatment for any other type of cancer. The new NDV discovered by Slavin in cooperation with Prof. Dan Heller, a virologist that was associated for many years for preparation of vaccines against chicken viral epidemics. Based on the few success stories of the past, Slavin was determined to find a more effective and more reliable oncolytic virus so he approached Prof. Heller provided Slavin with many viral isolates and Slavin screened many of those against different type of cancer cells available in Slavin’s laboratory. Surprisingly, Slavin and Heller discovered one new oncolytic virus belonging to the NDV family that was much more effective than any of the available oncolytic viruses. Currently, the new virus is being continuously investigated and prepared in large quantities in Slavin’s laboratory with financial support of Chinese investors for pilot clinical trials currently in progress.