ALEXANDRIA, Va., Oct. 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(API) announced today its collaboration with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center (MSKCC) in the field of alpha particle immunotherapy (APIT) by signing
a license, development and commercialization agreement.
APIT combines the potent killing power of alpha particle emitting
radioactive atoms (bismuth-213 or actinium-225) with specific monoclonal
antibodies to target cancer cells. Once injected into the body, the
radioactive drugs travel through the bloodstream until the antibody moiety
locks onto or moves into a cell. Once at the target, the short-range radiation
kills the cell. "You can inject small doses of these molecules, which
circulate, find their target cells, invade them and eventually kill the cells.
These are extremely potent drugs," comments Dr. David A. Scheinberg, Chief of
the Leukemia Service at MSKCC.
In a Phase I study completed in 1999, MSKCC treated 18 patients with Acute
Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in a dose escalation study using bismuth-213. In this
study, the therapy successfully eliminated large numbers of tumor cells
without significant clinical side effects to the patient. API is currently
undertaking a follow up AML clinical study in which 11 patients have so far
been treated with bismuth-213 in conjunction with cytarabine, a chemotherapy
drug. Results thus far continue to be encouraging without additional side
effects elicited by the combination.
During 2001, Dr. Scheinberg conducted preclinical research using the
isotope actinium-225, as a medical isotope-nanogenerator. Initial studies of
human cancers in laboratory experiments indicated actinium-225 was effective
in killing the cancer cells, using only a few atoms of actinium-225. These
cancers included leukemia, breast, ovarian, lymphoma, neuroblastoma, and
prostate. The effects were confirmed in animal studies of mice bearing human
tumors. API has plans to conduct a Phase I clinical study in patients with AML
in 2003 using actinium-225.
"API brings its supporting patent position for use of these unique, short
half-life alpha-particle emitting radioisotopes actinium-225 and bismuth-213
to this collaboration," said Dr. Maurits Geerlings, API's President and CEO.
"We also bring extensive experience with radiochemical operations,
broad-spectrum engineering expertise, and a commitment to make available
future supply sources for these isotopes." The isotopes originate from
isotope byproducts of nuclear power plants. API has teamed with other
companies to develop a proposal to stabilize legacy isotopes stored at Oak
Ridge National Laboratory, which would eliminate millions of dollars spent
annually by the U.S. Department of Energy to safely store the nuclear
material. This is seen as a great opportunity for the DOE to reduce expensive
storage costs and stabilize hazardous material while at the same time
producing bismuth-213 and actinium-225 for use in novel cancer therapies.
"Together, we hope to bring APIT to full-scale clinical use and
commercialization by identifying, developing and licensing important
therapeutic applications for these isotopes," Geerlings explained. "We will
work in partnership with developers and manufacturers who have successfully
demonstrated monoclonal antibodies potentially useful for APIT."
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SOURCE Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.