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Sniffing Out The Promise Of Anti-Angiogenesis Therapy

ATLANTA, May 16, 1999 -- A team of USC scientists led by Parkash Gill, M.D., have shown in a human clinical trial that a small peptide, in the form of a nose drop, may be a successful anti-angiogenesis treatment.

Gill's data on the anti-angiogenesis peptide IM862 in the treatment of Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS)-the most common cancer associated with HIV-will be presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and will be featured in a press conference on novel cancer therapies on Sunday, May 16, at 11 a.m.

In Phase II of the clinical trial of IM862-from which the data presented were taken-Gill, a professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Southern California School of Medicine, along with Peter Brooks, Ph.D., Jeffrey Weber, M.D., Ph.D., and Anil Tulpule, M.D., all from USC, treated 35 patients with an intranasal solution administered as a nose drop of IM862. They found that 37 percent of the patients showed a major response-either complete resolution of the KS lesions (4 patients) or partial reduction in tumor size (9 patients)-within six weeks of beginning treatment. In another 17 patients, the disease has not progressed for six months or longer.

"All this occurred with very few side effects," says Gill, "which were limited mostly to mild headaches."

IM862-now well into Phase III clinical trials-is among the first anti-angiogenesis drugs to get to this phase all on its own, says Gill. "Most of the other anti-angiogenic drugs are combined with chemotherapy," he notes. "This may end up being the way this family of drugs will be developed." (The chemicals which started the anti-angiogenesis debate-angiostatin and endostatin-have not yet reached Phase I trials.)

IM862, a thymic dipeptide, a small protein, was developed by Cytran, Inc., a private held company located in Kirkland, Wash. It does not go after tumor cells directly-in fact, says Gill, "it is not cytotoxic to any tumor cells." It inhibits blood ves
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Contact: Lori Olowinstein
oliwenst@usc.edu
323-442-2830
University of Southern California
17-May-1999


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