Cysteine-Rich Protein Prevents Weight Loss in Lung Cancer Patients: A Promising Intervention Study

Friday, January 18, 2008 General News
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MONTREAL, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Immunotec Inc. (TSX-V: IMM)announced today the successful completion of a multi-center randomized,double-blind clinical trial on cancer-related weight loss (cachexia) in lungcancer patients which was performed in collaboration with various Canadianclinical centers(x). The research concluded that patients treated with IMN1207 showed significant increases in body weight (Tozer et al. Antioxidants &Redox Signaling (2008) 10:395-402). Immunotec also announced the initiation ofa follow-up study to confirm the positive results.

The massive loss of body weight and muscle mass in advanced cancerpatients is typically associated with psychological stress, financial burdenand a decreased quality of life. Until now there have been no dietaryinterventions known to satisfactorily prevent this process.

Immunotec's new study included 66 patients with advanced lung cancerreceiving state of the art chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The patients hadalready suffered significant involuntary weight-loss prior to treatment.During a six month treatment period the patients were given either casein, aprotein supplement low in cysteine which is widely used in clinical nutrition("placebo") or IMN 1207, a specially-prepared glutathione enhancingcysteine-rich whey protein isolate supplied by Immunotec Inc. The resultsshowed that patients in the placebo group continued to lose weight whereaspatients treated with IMN 1207 showed a significant increase in body weight.Incidentally, these patients also showed an increase in strength and qualityof life parameters. This study showed for the first time that cancer-relatedweight loss (cachexia) can be prevented by a single source of protein. Dr.Gerald Batist, Chair, Department of Oncology, McGill University stated "Havingbeen involved in the early mechanistic studies of the therapeutic use of wheyproteins, I'm pleased to see this particular formulation being tested in theclinic. The data to date encourage additional and expanded clinical trials".Dr. Wulf Droge, Senior Vice-President Research & Development at Immunotec Inc.emphasized that the results of this first trial should be viewed with cautiousoptimism. A second trial has been initiated to confirm the results.

Among other questions, this clinical trial also addressed the controversyabout antioxidant use in chemotherapy. Since radiotherapy and many types ofchemotherapy work by raising levels of oxidative stress and free radicalformation to destroy cancer cells, oncologists have voiced concern thattreatment of the patient with antioxidants may "protect" the cancer from thetoxic effects of the therapy. If this were the case, antioxidants could evenbe expected to shorten the life span of the patients. Immunotec's study nowshowed that this was clearly not the case with IMN 1207. Based on his earlierwork at his laboratory at the National Cancer Research Center of Germany(DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Dr. Droge was reasonably confident that supplementationwith a critical precursor of the major cellular antioxidant glutathione, wouldactually improve the condition of the patients, most probably by amelioratingadverse effects of these therapies on the patients' healthy tissues. Theresults of this new study suggest that this is true. The antioxidantglutathione is distinct from other antioxidants including the popularantioxidant vitamins A, C, and E which are widely used as nutritionalsupplements. Glutathione is involved in the removal of reactive oxygen speciesand other potential toxic compounds through special biochemical processes andcan reach relatively high and beneficial concentrations in cells and tissuesdepending on the availability of its biosynthetic precursor cysteine.

About IMN 1207

IMN 1207 is a cysteine-rich protein. It is the research formulation of theundenatured whey protein Immunocal(R)/HMS 90(R), a dietary natural healthsupple

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