Toronto, Canada - February 15, 1999 - Scientists from Allelix Biopharmaceuticals Inc. (TSE/ME: AXB) will report the cloning of the receptor for Glucagon-like Peptide 2 (GLP-2), which plays a unique role in intestinal growth and nutrient absorption, in the February 16 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings offer valuable information about the specificity and action of GLP-2, for which Allelix has developed a proprietary analog, ALX-0600, as a potential therapy for several gastrointestinal disorders including short bowel syndrome. Because the GLP-2 receptor was found almost exclusively in the small intestine, ALX-0600 is expected to act in a highly specific manner at the target site.
Normally, GLP-2, a peptide hormone, acts in the body as a potent stimulator of cell growth in the lining of the small bowel. This growth dramatically increases the surface area of the intestine, where nutrients are extracted from food and then circulated into the body. Diseases such as short bowel syndrome, in which the decreased surface area results in reduced nutrient absorption, can lead to chronic hospitalizations and even death. No effective treatments are currently available for patients with the most severe form of these diseases.
"The cloning of this naturally occurring receptor is a critical step in determining exactly where and how GLP-2 functions in the body," said first author Donald G. Munroe, Ph.D., senior research scientist at Allelix. "With the cloned human receptor in hand, we are now able to better understand the mechanisms that connect GLP-2 with intestinal growth and nutrient absorption at the cellular and molecular levels."
Allelix has completed work in phase I clinical studies of ALX-0600 for short
bowel syndrome, a condition estimated to affect 40,000 to 50,000 sufferers
worldwide. Phase II studies are planned for 1999. Allelix is also considering
investigational trials for additional clinical indications such
Contact: Ernie Knewitz