Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Cancer-fighting technology progressing well

Date:
November 22, 2013
Source:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Summary:
New work abolishes otherwise unmanageable human cancers in preclinical rodent studies. The technology is based on the notion that solid tumors can be programmed to generate their own very potent chemotherapy.

PNP Therapeutics, Inc. -- a company based on a gene-therapy technology developed by scientists at Southern Research Institute and the University of Alabama at Birmingham -- has found an approach that has abolished otherwise unmanageable human cancers in preclinical rodent studies.

Related Articles


PNP confirmed that it has completed the first three cohorts of its Phase I clinical trial and is now recruiting for the fourth cohort. The company is looking ahead to Phase II trials and seeking an appropriate partner in the pharmaceutical industry.

"We are pleased with the progress made by the product thus far," said William B. Parker, Ph.D., senior research fellow at Southern Research Institute. He is also one of the discoverers of the company's proprietary technology. "Many common cancers, such as head and neck cancers, become untreatable despite the best medical intervention and the highest standard of care. There are compounds that can be used to treat these tumors, but the drugs are typically much too toxic. Our technology spares the patient from unnecessary exposure to chemotherapy, and can be used safely because the active agents are confined within a tumor mass."

In Phase I clinical trials, patient safety and efficacy are evaluated. In PNP's Phase I trial, an adenoviral vector is used to deliver E. coli PNP to head and neck tumors followed by intravenous administration of the prodrug fludarabine. The therapy was well-tolerated in the first nine patients, and doctors have detected efficacy.

"The therapy was well-tolerated, and all patients completed therapy with no major toxicities associated with the treatment," said Eben Rosenthal, M.D., John S. Odess Professor of Surgery and director of Otolaryngology at UAB, and principal investigator for the clinical trial. "The most common event related to treatment was pain, itching or redness associated with the injection site and flu-like symptoms in the days immediately following viral injection. Importantly, in our most recent patients, the therapy has resulted in one complete response and two partial responses."

The technology -- based on the notion that solid tumors can be programmed to generate their own very potent chemotherapy -- was discovered by Parker and Eric Sorscher, M.D., professor of Hematology and Oncology at UAB. Selectivity of the therapeutic approach is achieved by producing an enzyme called E. coli purine nucleoside phosphorylase (PNP) directly within tumor cells and using the enzyme to generate novel chemotherapy in the tumor mass itself. The resulting compound works by a unique mechanism of action unlike any drug currently used in the treatment of cancer, and it destroys replicating and nonreplicating malignant cells while minimizing damage to surrounding, healthy cells.

Over the course of its development, PNP has secured grants from the National Institutes of Health of approximately $10 million to support preclinical research at Southern Research Institute and UAB. In September 2013, UAB and Southern Research received notice of allowance from the United States Patent and Trademark Office of a significant new patent exclusively licensed to PNP that protects the product currently being tested in patients.

PNP's funding has been provided by Birmingham Technology Fund (managed by Greer Capital Advisors) and Phase I Holdings LLC (managed by John C. Lankford, Ph.D.), with co-investments by Southern Research Institute, UAB-affiliated foundations and local private-equity investors.

Charles K. Porter, who serves on both the Southern Research Institute and the UAB Research Foundation boards of directors, describes the investments by Southern Research and UAB affiliates as an indication of confidence.

"Southern Research Institute is well-known in the industry for having discovered a significant number of FDA-approved anti-cancer drugs, so it is only natural they would take an important leadership role in the advancement of this technology," Porter said. "Southern Research also had notable success with the creation, spin-out and ultimately the sale of Brookwood Pharmaceuticals. Not only is their science knowledge outstanding, but their business acumen is equally impressive."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alabama at Birmingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cancer-fighting technology progressing well." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165500.htm>.
University of Alabama at Birmingham. (2013, November 22). Cancer-fighting technology progressing well. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165500.htm
University of Alabama at Birmingham. "Cancer-fighting technology progressing well." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131122165500.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

Ebola Fears Keep Guinea Hospitals Empty

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) Fears of Ebola are keeping doctors and patients alike away from hospitals in the West African nation of Guinea. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

Despite Rising Death Toll, Many Survive Ebola

AP (Oct. 23, 2014) The family of a Dallas nurse infected with Ebola in the US says doctors can no longer detect the virus in her. Despite the mounting death toll in West Africa, there are survivors there too. (Oct. 23) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins