Paper in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Reports that a Novel Combination of Alfacell's Onconase and Rosiglitazone Induces a Synergistic Apoptotic Effect in Several Cancer Cell Lines
SOMERSET, N.J., July 21, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alfacell Corporation today announced that a paper published in Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (2008; 7(7):1871-9) reports that a combination of ONCONASE (ranpirnase) and the thiazolidinedione antidiabetic drug rosiglitazone shows a promising effect for cancers with increased expression of PI3K-dependent Fra-1 expression or Survivin.
The paper is the result of NIH-funded in vitro research conducted at the in Burlington, Vt., investigating two known phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) downstream proteins, Fra-1 and Survivin, as potential targets for cancer therapy. The study demonstrated that the combination of ONCONASE and rosiglitazone synergistically decreased cell viability and increased cell apoptosis in several cancer cell lines, including lung, breast, prostate and ovarian, due to decreased Fra-1 and Survivin expression. The results also suggest that combined therapeutic use may overcome the resistance produced in some cancer cells by the activation of survival pathways and their targets. The study concludes the novel drug combination of ONCONASE and rosiglitazone is a promising combination.
"This in vitro study further confirms the previously published in vitro and in vivo studies and demonstrates the potential of ONCONASE for effective use in cancer treatments via multiple molecular mechanisms of action," said Kuslima Shogen, Alfacell's chief executive officer. "Multiple drug resistance is a critical problem in the effective treatment of cancer and this research adds to the previous body of work indicating that ONCONASE could play an important role in treating the disease."
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: July 2008