ARIUS Presents New Findings Showing Therapeutic Antibody Inhibits Human Leukemic Cancer Stem Cells
TORONTO, Feb. 13 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - ARIUS Research Inc., , a biotechnology company discovering and developing the next wave of antibody therapeutics, today announced that new information on the preclinical activity of its anti-CD9 cancer stem cell antibody will be presented at the AACR Special Conference on Cancer Stem Cells entitled "The Role of Cancer Stem Cells in the Initiation and Propagation of Tumorigenesis," held on February 12th-15th in Los Angeles. The Company will disclose data demonstrating that its CD9 antibody not only targets leukemia cancer stem cells, but also leads to a dramatic reduction in their capacity to self-renew or give rise to further leukemia. These findings were discovered in collaboration with John E. Dick, PhD, the Canada Research Chair in Stem Cell Biology with the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada.
The poster presentation (Wednesday, February 13, 2008th 2008, from 4:30-6:30 pm) will outline the activity of ARIUS' anti-CD9 antibody, AR40A746.2.3, against acute myeloid leukemia (AML). The long-term survival expectation for patients with AML is poor due to disease relapse and resistance to chemotherapy. CD9 appears to be an important driver for leukemia and potentially other cancer stem cells, which often survive treatment, continue to multiply and go on to seed new tumors. Studies of patients with different types of cancer have demonstrated that the presence of CD9 can be linked to lower survival rates. AR40A746.2.3 has previously been found to control tumor growth and improve survival in pre-clinical breast and pancreatic cancer models.
"Since some cancer stem cells have been shown to be highly resistant to traditional cancer therapies and are believed to contribute to treatment resistance, the selectivity of ARIUS' anti-CD9 antibody for leukemic cancer stem cells represents an exciting opportunity in cancer therapy," said Dr. John E. Dick. "The ability to target leukemic cancer stem cells while potentially leaving normal stem cells intact may provide a more effective means for increasing survival and decreasing relapse in AML and possibly other forms of leukemia."
"ARIUS is very pleased to collaborate with Dr. John Dick, a pioneer in the cancer stem cell field. Prior to collaborating with Dr. Dick, our CD9 antibody demonstrated potent anti-tumor activity in several pre-clinical solid tumor models. Our antibody also appears to be a specific cancer stem cell inhibitor, suggesting that it may become an important drug and forge new paths for the treatment of cancer," said Dr. Daniel S. Pereira, Vice President of Research of ARIUS. "We have identified large and small animal toxicology models suitable for further studies of AR40A746.2.3 and we are on track in the development of this molecule for human clinical trials."
CD9 is a potential marker of acute myeloid leukemia stem cells (LSC) and serves as a LSC-specific therapeutic target. Poster Session A, Wednesday, Feb 13th 2008, from 4:30-6:30 pm in the Concourse Ballroom of the Los Angeles Marriott.
AR40A746.2.3, a functional antibody that targets CD9, has previously been shown to have anti-tumor and survival benefits in animal models of human breast and pancreatic cancer. CD9 is highly expressed and differentially expressed in AML versus normal stem cells (42.7+10.1% verus 9.9+2.8%). Preliminary experiments show that targeting CD9 with AR40A746.2.3 inhibits human AML outgrowth in the NOD/SCID mouse xenotransplant model. In secondary transplantation experiments, treatments with AR40A746.2.3 dramatically reduced the self-renewal capacity of AML cancer stem cells.
ARIUS is a biotechnology company discovering and developing the next wave of antibody therapeutics. Established in 1999, ARIUS has built a proprietary technology platform, FunctionFIRST(TM), that rapidly identifies and selects antibodies based on their functional ability to affect disease. This antibody generation engine has enabled ARIUS to assemble a portfolio of more than 500 antibody candidates. In addition to the antibodies it is developing in-house, ARIUS has ongoing partnerships with key biotechnology and drug development companies. ARIUS is listed on the TSX under the symbol "ARI". For further information, visit www.ariusmabs.com.
Certain statements in this news release constitute "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, which involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause our actual results to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such statements. Forward-looking statements in this release include, but are not limited to, ARIUS successfully advancing its new product programs as well as licensing opportunities. These statements are only predictions and actual events or results may differ materially. Factors that could cause such actual events or results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements to differ materially from any future results expressed or implied by such statements include, but are not limited to: early stage of development; technology and product development; dependence on and management of current and future corporate collaborations; future capital needs; uncertainty of additional funding; no assurance of market acceptance; dependence on proprietary technology and uncertainty of patent protection; intense competition; manufacturing and market uncertainties; and government regulation. These and other factors are described in detail in ARIUS' Annual Report, forthcoming news releases and other filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities available at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements are based on our current expectations and ARIUS is not obligated to update such information to reflect later events or developments.
Posted: February 2008