Houston and Austin, TX, October 25, 2001- Introgen Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: INGN) announced today that results of preclinical studies in melanoma have been published in the October 2001 issue of International Journal of Cancer in a manuscript entitled Down-Regulated Melanoma Differentiation Associated Gene (MDA-7) Expression in Human Melanomas. The manuscripts authors include lead author Dr. Suhendan Ekmekcioglu, Instructor in the Department of Bioimmunotherapy at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Elizabeth Grimm, Ashbel Smith Professor in the Departments of Bioimmunotherapy and Surgical Oncology at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Sunil Chada, Introgens director of research and development, and Dr. Abner Mhashilkar, project leader of Introgens INGN 241 (Adenoviral-mda7) program. The published studies were designed to answer two important questions in understanding the role of the mda-7 gene in skin cancer. First, how MDA-7 protein is regulated as tumors develop from benign moles to the full-blown skin cancer known as melanoma and secondly, how over-expression of the mda-7 gene will affect melanoma cancer cell growth.
In the scientific publication, the researchers conclude that the MDA-7 protein is present in normal melanocytes (cells responsible for pigmentation in the skin) and early stages of melanoma tumors. However, as the cancer advances, the MDA-7 protein is lost. In the highly aggressive metastatic disease, MDA-7 protein is virtually non-existent. This study demonstrates that mda-7 is a key tumor suppressor gene whose function is lost as melanoma tumors grow more aggressively.
INGN 241 is a modified adenoviral vector that carries the cancer cell killing mda-7 gene. Previous studies indicated that Adenoviral-mda7 treatment results in targeted destruction of breast, lung and colon cancer cells, while sparing normal cells. A Phase I clinica
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