BASKING RIDGE, N.J., Nov. 26 VioQuestPharmaceuticals (OTC Bulletin Board: VQPH) today announced the initiation of aPhase IIa study of Lenocta(TM) (sodium stibogluconate), a novel proteintyrosine phosphatase inhibitor, in combination with interferon alpha, animmune stimulant approved for the treatment of hepatitis C, hepatitis B and anumber of cancers. The open-label Phase IIa study is designed to enroll atleast 12 more patients.
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The Phase IIa trial will evaluate the clinical efficacy and biologicaleffectiveness of Lenocta at the highest tolerable dose in combination withinterferon alpha in patients with advanced-stage solid tumors.
"We have reached a significant milestone in the development of Lenocta asa potential cancer therapy with the initiation of this trial," said Michael D.Becker, President and Chief Executive Officer of VioQuest Pharmaceuticals."We will continue to advance our portfolio of novel compounds for variouscancer indications into clinical development, the goal of this drugdevelopment organization."
Razelle Kurzrock M.D., Professor of Medicine Chair, Department ofInvestigational Cancer Therapeutics at The University of Texas M.D. AndersonCancer Center is the lead principal investigator for the study, while AungNaing M.D. of the same institution and Claire Verschraegen M.D. of TheUniversity of New Mexico Cancer Center are participating co-principalinvestigators.
Data from the recently concluded Phase I trial for Lenocta demonstratedpharmacodynamic activity in some solid tumors as demonstrated by increases inthe activities of natural killer cells, CD8 and type II dendritic cells.
Lenocta, a pentavalent antimonial originally used for the treatment of theparasitic disease leishmaniasis, is an inhibitor of multiple protein tyrosinephosphatases (PTPases), specifically the src homology PTPase (SHP-1 & SHP-2)and PTP1B. Lenocta has also been demonstrated to augment cytokine signalingand responses in hemopoietic cell lines, which can enhance the body's immunesystem. Preclinical testing of Lenocta has demonstrated anti-tumor activityagainst a wide spectrum of cancers.
The protein tyrosine phosphatase superfamily of enzymes functions in acoordinated manner with protein tyrosine kinases to control signaling pathwaysthat underlie a broad spectrum of fundamental physiological processes andrepresent a new class of therapeutic targets. The PTPases SHP-1 and SHP-2modulate progenitor cell development, cellular growth, tissue inflammation,cellular chemotaxis, and directly control cell survival involving oxidativestress pathways. SHP-1 and SHP-2 are fundamental for the function of severalgrowth factor and metabolic pathways with far reaching implications fordisease pathways and disorders such as diabetes, neurodegeneration, andcancer.
About VioQuest Pharmaceuticals
VioQuest focuses on acquiring, developing, and commercializing targetedlate preclinical and early clinical stage therapies with unique mechanisms ofaction primarily for oncology and infectious diseases. VioQuest has threetargeted drug candidates in clinical development: VQD-002 which inhibits Akt,a member of the serine/threonine-specific protein kinase family that isamplified, overexpressed, and/or activated in prostate, breast, ovarian,colorectal, pancreatic, and hematologic cancers; Lenocta(TM), an inhibitor ofspecific protein tyrosine phosphatases SHP-1, SHP-2, and PTP1B that hasdemonstrated clinical and biological activity in solid tumors; and Xyfid(TM),a topical therapy which is being developed for the treatment and prevention ofchemotherapy-induced Hand-Foot Syndrome (HFS). VioQuest anticipatescommencing Phase II trials for VQD-002, and Xyfid in the first half of 2008.In addition, VioQuest and the U.S. Army ar