Studies Show Mild Hyperthermia Enhances Antitumor Effects of Alfacell's Onconase
BLOOMFIELD, N.J., March 22, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alfacell Corporation today reported that in vitro studies show mild hyperthermia enhances the therapeutic effects of ONCONASE (ranpirnase), the company's lead investigational drug candidate.
In a paper entitled, "Mild hyperthermia predisposes tumor cells to undergo apoptosis upon treatment with ONCONASE," published in the International Journal of Oncology (April 2007), the studies conducted by Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., and collaborators demonstrated apoptosis, or programmed cell death, increased up to 200 percent when ONCONASE was applied to lymphoblastoid TK6 cells at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to treatment at 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit). In these experiments, apoptosis was manifested by classical changes in cell morphology and the activation of caspase-3, both considered hallmarks of the apoptotic mode of cell death.
"This is very encouraging data that support our work in investigating multiple therapeutic options for the ONCONASE franchise," said Kuslima Shogen, Alfacell's chairman and chief executive officer. "These studies indicate that we may be able to increase the drug's effectiveness in combination with mild hyperthermia. This opens up new possibilities in creating treatment regimens for various indications."
Whole body hyperthermia at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered to be a safe therapy that does not lead to any serious or sustained organ dysfunction, and is used in the treatment of cancer, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
To view the paper on-line, please visit http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?db=pubmed&cmd=Retrieve&dopt=Abst ractPlus&list_uids=17332922&query_hl=1&itool=pubmed_docsum.
ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic 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.
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. In addition to an ongoing Phase IIIb study in malignant mesothelioma, Alfacell is conducting a Phase I/II trial of ONCONASE in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other solid tumors. For more information, visit http://www.alfacell.com.
This press release includes statements that may constitute "forward- looking" statements, usually containing the words "believe," "estimate," "project," "expect" or similar expressions. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. Factors that would cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, uncertainties involved in transitioning from concept to product, uncertainties involving the ability of the company to finance research and development activities, potential challenges to or violations of patents, uncertainties regarding the outcome of clinical trials, the company's ability to secure necessary approvals from regulatory agencies, dependence upon third-party vendors, and other risks discussed in the company's periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. By making these forward-looking statements, the company undertakes no obligation to update these statements for revisions or changes after the date of this release.
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Posted: March 2007