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Posted: March 24, 2009

$2M NIH Grant to Evaluate Novel Nanoparticle Delivery Technology With Lorus' Oncology Drugs

(Nanowerk News) Lorus Therapeutics Inc., a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the research and development of pharmaceutical products and technologies for the management of cancer, today announced that researchers at the Ohio State University (OSU) have received a grant of approximately US $2 million to explore the potential for applying OSU's proprietary tumor-targeted nanoparticle drug delivery technology with ribonucleotide reductase (RNR) targeted RNA-based drugs.
LOR-1284, an siRNA drug candidate targeting the R2 component of ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), has been chosen by OSU as the lead compound for this study. Lorus agreed to supply LOR-1284 along with other developmental compounds that target R1 and R2, all of which have shown strong preclinical or clinical activity against a variety of cancers. Although in published reports LOR-1284 has shown significant in vivo anti-tumor activity on its own, the novel nanotechnology approach in development by OSU has the potential to enhance uptake of the drug in tissues and to provide a selective affinity for specific tumors.
Research to optimize delivery of siRNA in vivo is expected to be the key to the future therapeutic promise of siRNA therapeutics to effectively target specific genes associated with cancer.
Development of nanomedicines has been a strong area of growth in innovative technologies at OSU, and leverages expertise at the OSU College of Pharmacy, the Nanoscale Science and Engineering Center (NSEC), and Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC). Dr. Robert Lee, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics in the CCC and NSEC, is providing overall direction of this experimental program in collaboration with Dr. James Lee, Professor in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Director of NSEC, and Dr. Guido Marcucci, Professor of Medicine and Human Genetics in the CCC.
"Coupling novel lipid-based nanocarriers with tumor-specifc molecular targeting agents, is a rational and promising approach for concentrating the activity of RNA-based drugs, and combines two complementary technologies already in development at OSU", said Dr. Robert Lee. "OSU has ongoing research experience with a number of siRNA and oligonucleotide drugs. This includes an ongoing program with Lorus' LOR-2040 drug in Acute Myeloid Leukemia that is presently in an advanced Phase II clinical study".
"Lorus is very pleased to provide our compounds targeting ribonucleotide reductase R1 and R2 and supporting information to explore a novel way of delivering these drugs", said Lorus' CEO Dr. Aiping Young. "This research exploits the broad spectrum of antitumor activity of these compounds to identify additional development opportunities for specific tumors. Lorus is supplying the drugs under a Materials Transfer Agreement.
Source: Lorus Therapeutics (press release)