Kiev, Ukraine (PRWEB) February 02, 2013
Ekomed company is pleased to announce that Immunoxel formulated into Honey Lozenges™ has been awarded Global Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Program (STEP) grant from the Civilian Research & Development Foundation (CRDF). CRDF is the non-profit organization authorized by the US Congress and established in 1995 by the National Science Foundation. STEP is funded by the US Department of State and in part by the State Agency of Ukraine for Science, Innovation, and Information. The grant will support clinical trial and joint marketing initiative of honey-formulated herbal supplement, Immunoxel, shown clinically effective as an immune adjunct against tuberculosis.
TB is a global killer. According to the WHO two billion people or 1/3 of the global population is latently infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Annually, nearly 9 million of these people develop active TB and 2 million die. Current tuberculosis drugs are 50 years old, not very effective, must be taken for 6-9 months for drug-sensitive TB and up to 36 months for drug-resistant strains - MDR-TB and XDR-TB. Thus, new alternative approaches are urgently needed. One of them is immunotherapy, which is believed to enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy and shorten treatment duration.
The proprietary water-alcohol phytoconcentrate of 25 herbs, Immunoxel (Dzherelo), was developed by Ukrainian company Ekomed in 1997. This herbal tincture is widely available in Ukrainian pharmacies and has been used as an immune supplement to treat various infectious diseases such as seasonal flu, TB and HIV. Published studies spanning over the past 15 years count nearly twenty clinical trials involving more than 1,500 TB and AIDS patients. These studies have demonstrated that herbal extract taken along with conventional drugs can clear bacteria in 2-4 months instead of usual 6-24 months. While these results are clearly in favor of Immunoxel, they are not ideal, since the duration of therapy is not optimal and faster-acting regimens are still needed. In order to overcome this drawback four types of solid, sublingual formulations of Immunoxel were made and tested clinically to see if they performed better.
The most optimal delivery vehicle was Honibe honey lozenge currently sold for sore throat and nasal congestion relief. The new version of Immunoxel was developed jointly by two Canadian companies, Island Abbey Foods Ltd., and Immunitor Inc. The project was funded by earlier-issued CRDF grant which was successfully completed last year. The outcome of the clinical trial was published in Immunotherapy – a peer-reviewed journal from Future Medicine – a science publisher based in London, UK.
“It is a great honor for me personally and for our Canadian and Ukrainian partners to be among winners of the STEP grant” stated John Rowe, President of Island Abbey Foods Ltd. “We are very proud to be able to contribute to the global fight against TB”. Dr. Allen Bain, Director of Immunitor Inc, another company based in Charlottetown, PEI, and co-recipient of the grant added: "This success will help boost our fundraising efforts for expanded multinational trials and marketing in high TB burden countries in Africa and Asia. The ultimate Idea to Market goal endorsed by CRDF is thus fulfilled".
The anti-mycobacterial activity of honey has been known since ancient times and it is used as a folk medicine even today. Several in vitro studies demonstrated the direct inhibition of tubercle bacilli growth by honey. There are also published clinical studies showing its benefit in healing tuberculous lesions and counteracting the toxicity of TB drugs. “Remarkable anti-TB activity resulted from once-daily dose of herbal honey lozenge. It is likely that the combination of Immunoxel with honey produced synergistic effect observed in our trial. The goal of the future study, to be funded by CRDF, is to confirm our preliminary findings, so that we have an easy-to-administer tableted form of TB immunotherapy,” concluded Volodymyr Pylypchuk, Director General of Kiev-based Ekomed.