NEW YORK, April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kristen Ann Carr Fund has awarded a grant to Jonathan Lewis, MD, PhD, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc., which will fund translational work at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, for the development of a novel treatment for pediatric sarcoma. The competitive grant was established to honor the 70th birthday of Murray F. Brennan, MD, Chairman Emeritus of Surgery at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, renowned sarcoma expert and a director of ZIOPHARM Oncology, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZIOP)
The funds are slated to aid development of palifosfamide (ZymafosTM or ZIO-201) in pediatric sarcoma. Paul Meyers, MD, Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center will lead translational studies with the oral form of drug. Richard Gorlick, MD, PhD, Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at Albert Einstein College will lead preclinical studies with both oral and intravenous forms of the drug. Both Dr. Meyers and Gorlick have held senior leadership positions in the Children's Oncology Group (COG). The study objectives are to set the stage for further clinical study in pediatric sarcoma and other cancers, particularly for oral administration of this novel drug in children.
The award will be presented on April 24th, 2010, at the Kristen Ann Carr Fund, "A Night to Remember" fundraising event in Tribeca, New York City.
ZIOPHARM is expected to initiate a global registration trial with the IV form in soft tissue sarcoma in adults as early as the first half of 2010 following U.S. Food and Drug Administration ("FDA") and European Medicines Agency ("EMA") protocol review.
Dr. Murray Brennan is widely regarded as the key clinician-researcher in helping to move sarcoma into prominence in cancer studies. Dr. Lewis worked with Dr. Brennan at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), and together they have written a standard textbook on management of sarcoma. Dr. Lewis was the first Kristen Ann Carr Fund Fellow at Memorial Sloan-Kettering from 1993-1995. Dr. Brennan was chairman of the department of surgery at MSKCC for 26 years, until he relinquished his administrative duties to return to work full-time as a clinician-researcher.
Palifosfamide (ZymafosTM or ZIO-201) references a novel composition (tris formulation) that comprises the functional active metabolite of ifosfamide, a standard of care for treating sarcoma, lymphoma, testicular, and other cancers. Palifosfamide delivers only the cancer-fighting component of ifosfamide. It is expected to overcome the resistance seen with ifosfamide and cyclophosphamide, two of the most commonly used DNA-alkylating drugs used to treat cancers. Palifosfamide does not have the toxic metabolites of ifosfamide that cause the debilitating side effects of "fuzzy brain" (encephalopathy) and severe bladder inflammation. Intravenous palifosfamide is currently in a randomized Phase II trial to treat unresectable or metastatic soft tissue sarcoma in the front- and second-line setting. An oral form of palifosfamide has been developed preclinically to the investigational new drug application stage.
About the Kristen Ann Carr Fund
The Kristen Ann Carr Fund (www.kristenanncarrfund.org) was formed in 1993, after the death of Kristen Carr, a 21-year-old who was just about to graduate from New York University. It has raised multiple millions for research into this group of rare and deadly tumors, which represent about 15% of all types of cancer in children and about one percent of all types in adults. Kristen Ann Carr Fund projects at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center include fellowships in both surgery and medical oncology. The KACF also built the Kristen Ann Carr Sarcoma Laboratory, as well as funding many projects in sarcoma and the psycho-social care of teenage and young adult cancer patients throughout the U.S. and internationally.
SOURCE Kristen Ann Carr Fund