Araim Pharmaceuticals' ARA 290 significantly improves islet cell function following islet cell transplantation in a model of Type 1 diabetes

Dec 22, 2015, 09:32 ET from Araim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

TARRYTOWN, N.Y., Dec. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Araim Pharmaceuticals, a clinical stage drug development company with a unique platform technology for activating post-injury tissue repair and recovery, reported today that data published in the current issue of Transplantation by investigators at the Karolinksa Institute in Stockholm, Sweden demonstrate that ARA 290 significantly improves the outcome of islet cell transplantation in a mouse model of Type 1 diabetes.

ARA 290 is the lead compound in a family of novel peptides targeting chronic and acute diseases. It is a first-in-class synthetic peptide designed to activate the innate repair mechanism in the setting of tissue injury.  ARA 290 selectively binds to the Innate Repair Receptor (IRR) which activates tissue protective, reparative, and anti-inflammatory signaling pathways.  The IRR was discovered by Araim Pharmaceuticals and is the basis for their platform of peptides and patent portfolio.  

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body attacks and destroys the insulin producing beta-cells in the pancreas. Its global incidence is rising and is increasing most quickly among children younger than five.  Pancreatic islet cell transplantation (PITx) is an experimental treatment option for patients with brittle type 1 diabetes characterized by frequent bouts of hypoglycemia. When transplants are successful, they can result in normalized glucose without the need for insulin injections.   

The most significant barrier to successful transplantation is poor survival of transplanted islet cells, often due to procedure-related cytokine-induced inflammation that results in subsequent islet cell injury and death.  Thus, despite the large number of islets and multiple transplantation procedures typically required for patients, long-term graft function and insulin independence are achieved in only a small minority.  Based upon previous research demonstrating ARA 290's ability to activate tissue protection through the IRR and inhibit the inflammatory cascade, ARA 290 was evaluated for its potential in preventing islet damage and graft loss.

As presented in the current issue of Transplantation, in a series of studies using a preclinical model of type 1 diabetes, investigators administered ARA 290 to mice just before and up to 24 hours following PITx.  Following ARA 290 administration, macrophage activation, secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-12, and TNF-alpha), and activation of pro-inflammatory cytokine mRNA expression in the liver were all suppressed.  ARA 290 protected islets from cytokine-induced damage and cell death, leading to improved islet graft function.   Blood glucose levels were significantly decreased in the ARA 290-treated diabetic mice compared to control animals throughout the post-transplant period.

These findings are consistent with other positive results that have been obtained by an extensive network of leading global experts at major universities evaluating the effect of IRR activation in multiple preclinical disease models.  "The current studies in islet cell transplantation not only add to our knowledge of the mechanism of post-injury tissue damage prevention and repair, but also provide new evidence for the potential beneficial role of ARA 290 in conditions associated with acute or chronic stress and inflammation," commented Dr. Tony Cerami, founder and CEO of Araim Pharmaceuticals.  "We are pursuing our current clinical program in neuropathic disease, and are actively evaluating the potential clinical role of ARA 290 in other disease states that remain currently underserved."

About Araim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Araim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical stage drug development company with a novel platform technology designed to address devastating injuries and chronic diseases underserved by current therapies. With their discovery of the Innate Repair Receptor (IRR), Araim has identified the target for activating tissue repair and recovery from inflammatory and other injuries. Their lead compound, ARA 290, a novel 11 amino acid peptide, stimulates tissue protective, reparative and anti-inflammatory signaling pathways through selective IRR activation. Araim has an ongoing, active and promising preclinical program in a wide array of conditions involving tissue injury and repair, including neuropathy, cardiovascular injury, diabetes complications, wound healing and aging. ARA 290 has received US and EU orphan drug and US Fast Track designations for the treatment of painful small fiber neuropathy in sarcoidosis, and is currently in Phase 2 peripheral neuropathy clinical trials.

SOURCE Araim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.