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Posted: December 12, 2007
Pro-Pharmaceuticals Enters Research Collaboration with University of Massachusetts Lowell
(Nanowerk News) Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Amex: PRW), a company "Advancing Drugs Through Glycoscience®", today announced it has entered into a research collaboration with the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) to evaluate its leading compound, DAVANAT®, with chemotherapy drugs. UML has leading edge capabilities in nanotechnology and polymer characterization. Pro-Pharmaceuticals is engaged in the discovery, development and commercialization of carbohydrate-based therapeutic compounds for advanced treatment of cancer, liver, microbial, cardiovascular and inflammatory diseases, and viral infections.
“Collaborating with the University of Massachusetts Lowell represents an exciting opportunity to partner with a premier academic institution,” said David Platt, Ph.D., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “We continue to advance the development of DAVANAT®, our lead product candidate in clinical trials, and the work from this collaboration will help further expand its potential as a first-in-class, targeted drug delivery system. Our goal is to improve the clinical benefit for patients by reducing the toxicity and improving the efficacy of chemotherapy regimens used to treat cancer. To date, we have dosed 76 patients with DAVANAT® and 5-FU, including 16 with DAVANAT®, 5-FU, AVASTIN® and leucovorin. DAVANAT® has increased patients exposure to 5-FU with no toxicity increase.”
“Targeted drug therapies are becoming more important in the fight against cancer and I am excited to be working with Pro-Pharmaceuticals on this project,” said Dr. Robert Nicolosi, Professor and Director, Center for Health and Disease Research, University of Massachusetts Lowell.
University of Massachusetts Lowell
UMass Lowell, with a national reputation in science, engineering and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success in a diverse world and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health. UML offers its 11,000 students more than 120 degree choices, internships, five-year combined bachelor’s to master’s programs and doctoral studies in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management, the School of Health and Environment, and the Graduate School of Education. Additional information is available at www.uml.edu.
Dr. Robert Nicolosi, Professor and Director, Center for Health & Disease Research
Dr. Robert J. Nicolosi, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Massachusetts Lowell. Dr. Nicolosi is also Director of the Center for Health and Disease Research at the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. His major research areas include pharmaceutical and nutraceutical interventions for the treatment and prevention of hypercholesterolemia, cardiovascular disease, age-related macular degeneration, diabetes and cancer; nanoemulsion technology as it relates to the delivery of pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals and the formulation of films and coatings for applications of food packaging and flavor enhancement. Dr. Nicolosi also has held an Associate Professor appointment at the Harvard Medical School and was Chairman of the Division of Nutrition from 1982-1985, at Harvard Medical School’s New England Regional Primate Research Center. He is also an adjunct Professor in Biochemistry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, MA and an adjunct faculty member at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst MA. He has served as a member of the Nutrition Committee of the American Heart Association and Chairperson of the Nutrition Subcommittee of the American Heart Association. At the Massachusetts affiliate level of the American Heart Association, Dr. Nicolosi has served as chairperson of the Cholesterol Education Task Force and Heart Health Education Task Force for the Young. He serves on several scientific journal editorial and advisory boards and GRAS panels of major food and pharmaceutical industries. Dr. Nicolosi holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.
The Company's lead drug candidate, DAVANAT®, is a new chemical entity of the Galactomannan carbohydrate polymer family composed of mannose and galactose. DAVANAT®, in combination with chemotherapies, is currently in Phase ll trials for colorectal and biliary cancer. DAVANAT® encapsulates the chemotherapy in a CARBOSOMETM formation, travels in the blood and target delivers the chemotherapy to the tumor. DAVANAT® recognizes and binds to specific lectin receptors (galectins) that are over-expressed on cancer cells and binds to the galectins on the tumor cell surface. Current research indicates that galectins affect cell development and play important roles in cancer, including tumor cell survival, angiogenesis and tumor metastasis. In animal models, the concept was demonstrated independently with radioactive tracer (C14) that DAVANAT® binds to specific galectins and transports the chemotherapy drug into the cancer cell. This form of targeted delivery may allow for higher doses of chemotherapy administration with no increase in toxicity.
The Company also is developing PRO-GR 300, a first-in-class, novel carbohydrate compound that reduced collagen expression and reversed fibrosis in animal models. Uncontrolled collagen expression is a pathological process that occurs during the fibrotic process, affecting various organs and leads to scar tissue. Chemical toxicity, microbial infection or physical injury cause hepatic, renal, cardiac and pulmonary fibrosis. Carbohydrate polymers were synthesized and screened to inhibit collagen production in in-vivo and in-vitro fibrosis models.
Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc. - Advancing Drugs Through Glycoscience®
Pro-Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is engaged in the discovery, development, and commercialization of therapeutic compounds for advanced treatment of cancer, liver, microbial, cardiovascular, and inflammatory diseases. The Company's initial focus is the development of a new generation of anti-cancer treatments using carbohydrate polymers to enhance the safety and efficacy of chemotherapy agents. The Company's technology also is directed at rescuing drugs that were shelved for toxicity or "half-life" issues; increasing the solubility of existing drugs, and developing polymers as new chemical entities. Founded in 2000, the Company is headquartered in Newton, Mass. Additional information is available at www.pro-pharmaceuticals.com. Additional information on the clinical trials and participating sites can be found at www.clinicaltrials.gov, key word: DAVANAT®.
FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS: Any statements in this news release about future expectations, plans and prospects for the Company, including without limitation statements containing the words "believes," "anticipates," "plans," "expects," and similar expressions, constitute forward-looking statements as defined in the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on management's current expectations and are subject to a number of factors and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those described in such statements. We caution investors that actual results or business conditions may differ materially from those projected or suggested in forward-looking statements as a result of various factors including, but not limited to, the following: uncertainties as to the utility and market for our potential products; uncertainties associated with pre-clinical and clinical trials of our product candidates. More information about those risks and uncertainties is contained in the Company's most recent quarterly or annual report and in the Company's other reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the Company anticipates that subsequent events may cause the Company's views to change, the Company disclaims any obligation to update such forward-looking statements.
DAVANAT and Advancing Drugs Through Glycoscience are registered trademarks of Pro-Pharmaceuticals. CARBOSOME is a trademark of Pro-Pharmaceuticals. AVASTIN is a registered trademark of Genentech.