Ovarian Cancer Response Potential Major Breakthrough in Oncology
BEVERLY, MA–(Marketwired – Jan 20, 2015) – Cellceutix Corporation (OTC: CTIX) (the “Company”), a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company developing innovative therapies with oncology, dermatology and antimicrobial applications, is pleased to report the near complete disappearance of a metastatic lesion in the spleen of a Stage 4 ovarian cancer patient who was enrolled in the Company’s Phase 1 clinical trial of anti-cancer drug candidate Kevetrin™ being conducted at Harvard Cancer Center’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. According to information supplied by the hospital, the patient, who successfully completed three Kevetrin 3-dose cycles before discontinuing the trial, experienced increased energy, while scans showed a reduction in the amount of peritoneal fluid (ascites) during treatment with Kevetrin. Subsequent to the second and third Kevetrin cycles, scans showed the spleen lesion to be essentially undetectable and the patient’s disease to be clinically stable.
With the completion of the ninth cohort, and commencement of tenth cohort at 450 mg/m2, the hospital has continued research to determine the effect of Kevetrin on p21, the key biomarker tightly controlled by the tumor suppressor protein p53. p53 is often referred to as the “Guardian Angel Gene” because of its crucial role in controlling cell mutations. In nearly all cancers, p53 is deficient or mutated, thus failing to perform its role as a master cell regulator, which exacerbates tumor progression and metastasis. As such, a drug to reactivate p53 to its normal state is a prime target for a next generation cancer therapy. Because p21 is a recognized downstream target of activated p53, increased levels of p21 in peripheral blood cells suggest that Kevetrin is having an impact on returning p53 to its effectiveness as a tumor suppressor.
Research conducted by the hospital evaluating p21 expression in earlier cohorts, for which the level of exposure to Kevetrin was substantially lower, showed that about 50 percent of the patients demonstrated at least a 10% increase in p21. The data supported the hypothesis that enhanced p21 is dose related, meaning that as the amount of Kevetrin increased, so did the p21 expression. Hospital scientists are now running samples examining the effect of Kevetrin on p21 at higher dosing levels in more recent cohorts and Cellceutix hopes to disclose the results shortly.
Additionally, the Principal Investigators for the Kevetrin trial have requested that the Company start preparing a presentation to be used for an article on the safety and pharmacological effect of Kevetrin on multiple cancer lines as demonstrated in the clinical trial. Cellceutix interprets this recommendation as a very optimistic sign regarding anticipated outcomes for the trial and clinical advancement of Kevetrin.
“I can’t overexpress the excitement at Cellceutix regarding Kevetrin or the significance of a metastatic lesion disappearing in a late-stage ovarian cancer patient,” commented Leo Ehrlich, Chief Executive Officer at Cellceutix. “We don’t know of any other company, regardless of specialization, albeit small molecule, immunotherapy or other, that has published an effect like that in such a hard-to-treat disease like metastatic ovarian cancer during a Phase 1 safety trial. The idea that a stage 4 ovarian cancer patient’s disease was clinically stabilized, although her CA-125 count was increased in the third month, is remarkable. The patients in our trial are incredibly sick, have often run the gamut of approved treatments and subject to constant therapy modification to address the greatest area of need at the given moment. That’s an everyday practice in oncology, especially when a drug regimen, such as the strict protocol with the Kevetrin trial where dosing levels and intervals absolutely cannot be changed. We are not privy to the minutiae underscoring any physician’s decisions in a trial, but we interpret the stabilization of the cancer as allotting the physician an opportunity to modify treatment to improve the patient’s quality of life, an opportunity that potentially may have not been there without Kevetrin. With that in mind, we are analyzing the collective preliminary data from the trial to date showing a strong safety profile for Kevetrin, an effect on p53 and data seeming to indicate that ovarian, pancreatic and other FDA designated orphan cancers would be ideal mid-stage clinical trial targets as we plan to move forward. Considering what has been shown recently in the Kevetrin trial and the recently completed Phase 2b trial of Brilacidin for ABSSSI, we believe that we have an incredibly strong franchise headlined by one of the most promising cancer drugs and one of the best antibiotics in development today.”