TGen News & Press Releases : Businessman-philanthropist assists TGen-VARI study of rare cancer

Clinical study open at TGen Clinical Research Services at Scottsdale Healthcare

Jan. 12, 2011 - A new investigational drug designed to stop cancer cells from reproducing may offer hope for patients with advanced solid tumor cancers.

Clinical trials of TKM-PLK1 for qualified patients are now open at TGen Clinical Research Services (TCRS) at Scottsdale Healthcare, part of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center.

TKM-PLK-1 targets a protein called polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) that promotes tumor cell reproduction. It prevents the tumor from completing cell division, resulting in death of the cancer cell. TCRS, a partnership of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) and Scottsdale Healthcare, will be among the first in the world to study the treatment in humans.

The new drug is being developed as a treatment for patients with advanced solid tumor cancers who are not well served by current therapy. The Phase 1 clinical trial will evaluate the safety, tolerability and how the body metabolizes TKM-PLK1.

Laboratory research showed the investigational compound might have effectiveness in treating colorectal, breast, non-small cell lung, and ovarian cancers. These diseases collectively affect more than 500,000 new patients each year in the United States.

"One of the things that makes this drug unique is its use of siRNA technology. A small engineered compound is introduced into the cancer cell and stops production of this protein that cancer cells need to grow. It's like a stealth attack on the cancer cell," says Dr. Ramesh Ramanathan, principal investigator at TCRS.

Sequencing of the human genome provided the information needed to design siRNA therapeutics that can target specific proteins. TKM-PLK1 delivers these powerful siRNA molecules into the cancer cell.

Researchers hope to enroll up to 52 patients in clinical trials of the drug in three centers across the U.S.

Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp. of Vancouver, Canada, (www.tekmirapharm.com) developed the drug.

The Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare opened in 2001 as the first major cancer center in greater Phoenix offering comprehensive cancer care and research through Phase I clinical trials, diagnosis, treatment, prevention and support services in collaboration with leading researchers and community oncologists. The Scottsdale Healthcare cancer program holds Accreditation with Commendation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons.

Research at TCRS allows molecular and genomic discoveries to reach the patient bedside as quickly as possible through clinical trials of therapies directed at specific targets in a patient's tumor.

Individuals seeking information about eligibility to participate in clinical trials at TCRS may contact the cancer care coordinator at 480-323-1339, toll free at 1-877-273-3713 or via email at [email protected]

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About Scottsdale Healthcare
Scottsdale Healthcare is the community-based, nonprofit parent organization of the Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale Healthcare Research Institute, Scottsdale Healthcare Osborn Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Shea Medical Center, Scottsdale Healthcare Thompson Peak Hospital and Scottsdale Healthcare Foundation. For more information, visit www.shc.org.

Press Contact:
Keith Jones
480-882-4910
[email protected]

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About TGen
The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. TGen is affiliated with the Van Andel Research Institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For more information, visit: www.tgen.org.

Press Contact:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
[email protected]


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