Paper in Cell Cycle Reports Alfacell's ONCONASE Targets siRNA
SOMERSET, N.J., October 9, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alfacell Corporation today announced that a paper published in Cell Cycle (2008; Vol. 7, Issue 20) reports that ONCONASE (ranpirnase) targets small interfering RNA (siRNA), likely within the RNA-induced silencing complex (RISC) of the RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism.
The paper is the result of research conducted by collaborators at the Brander Cancer Research Institute and Department of Pathology at and Alfacell. The study demonstrated that silencing the glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) gene (an abundant and ubiquitously expressed housekeeping gene) in human lung adenocarcinoma A549 cells by siRNA was effectively prevented by ONCONASE. While transfection of cells with GAPDH siRNA reduced expression of this protein by nearly 70 percent, the expression was restored in the cells exposed to ONCONASE for 48 or 72 hours. The data thus provide evidence that one of the targets of ONCONASE (ranpirnase) is siRNA.
"This data provide further evidence of the impact of ONCONASE on the RNAi mechanism," said Kuslima Shogen, Alfacell's chief executive officer. "Furthermore, the data may provide the explanation for the preferential effectiveness of ONCONASE toward tumor cells as well as its ability to sensitize cells to other antitumor agents. As seen in our Phase III clinical trial results, ONCONASE has demonstrated significant efficacy in patients with malignant mesothelioma that failed prior chemotherapy."
ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic product candidate based on Alfacell's proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology. A natural protein isolated from the leopard frog, ONCONASE has been shown in the laboratory and clinic to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE triggers apoptosis, the natural death of cells, via multiple molecular mechanisms of action.
Alfacell has licensed the U.S. commercial rights for ONCONASE to Strativa Pharmaceuticals, a division of Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. Strategic marketing and distribution agreements for ONCONASE have been secured with BL&H Co. Ltd. for Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, USP Pharma Spolka Z.O.O., an affiliate of US Pharmacia, for Eastern Europe, GENESIS Pharma, S.A. for Southeastern Europe, and Megapharm Ltd. for Israel.
ONCONASE has been granted fast track status and orphan-drug designation for the treatment of malignant mesothelioma by the FDA. Additionally, ONCONASE has been granted orphan-drug designation in the European Union and Australia.
About Alfacell Corporation
Alfacell Corporation is the first company to advance a biopharmaceutical product candidate that works in a manner similar to RNA interference (RNAi) through late-stage clinical trials. The product candidate, ONCONASE, is an RNase that overcomes the challenges of targeting RNA for therapeutic purposes while enabling the development of a new class of targeted therapies for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Alfacell has completed Phase III clinical trials of ONCONASE in unresectable malignant mesothelioma and, in addition to ongoing efforts to complete the related rolling New Drug Application, Alfacell is currently planning for Phase II clinical trials in other oncology indications. For more information, visit www.alfacell.com.
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Posted: October 2008