As reported this week, Dr. Judah Folkman's promising work in cutting off a tumor's blood supply to treat cancer in mice has excited The National Cancer Institute as well as scientists throughout the industry. A novel concept that Folkman began researching 30 years ago, the inhibition of blood supply to tumors seems critical to the removal of tumors and the prevention of metastases.
To date, Folkman's angiostatin and endostatin proteins have completely eradicated tumors while avoiding side effects in mice. This research suggests that mechanisms that inhibit angiogenesis will have potential as cancer therapeutics.
If you are working on a story regarding the breakthrough of anti-angiogenesis for cancer therapy, you might be interested in related work being done by Ribozyme Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (RPI). Through the use of ribozymes, short RNA molecules that are designed to cleave specific RNA sequences and thereby inhibit the synthesis of disease-causing proteins, RPI is using an anti-VEGF receptor ribozyme to inhibit angiogenesis and thus restrain tumor growth. Preclinical studies have indicated efficacy of the ribozyme as an anti-angiogenic agent in multiple animal models in various cancers and in the eye. Most recently, the anti-VEGF receptor ribozyme has demonstrated the ability to inhibit the development of tumor blood vessels in mice bearing Lewis Lung Carcinoma, resulting in the inhibition of both tumor growth and metastasis.
Note to journalists: If you would like to speak with Dr. Ralph Christoffersen of RPI or would like additional information on RPI's anti-angiogenesis program, please call Neil Cohen, ext. 205 or Lara Kaplan, ext, 246, both of Noonan/Russo Communications, 212-696-4455.
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