Actinium Pharmaceuticals Announces Collaboration with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a Novel Targeted Cancer Immunotherapy

Oct 01, 2002, 01:00 ET from Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

    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.