Country for PR: Australia
Contributor: AAP Medianet International
Friday, April 12 2019 - 16:00
World First Development of an Arsenic-Peptide to Target Cancer
WOLLONGONG, NSW, Australia, Apr. 12, 2019/Medianet-International-AsiaNet/--

Australian pharmaceutical firm, Phebra, has announced a  collaboration  and 
licensing agreement with the University of Wollongong (UOW) to continue 
development of newly patented arsenic compounds that potentially treat 
haematologic malignancies and solid tumours.

Researchers, Dr Carolyn Dillon and Ms Judith Carrall, from the UOW School of 
Chemistry and Molecular Bioscience, recognised the well-established efficacy of 
arsenic in the treatment of Acute Promyelocytic Leukaemia (APL).  They have 
since developed a new concept that promises to allow the dose of the cytotoxoc 
arsenic to be reduced by up to forty-fold.  In addition, it has been designed 
to specifically target cancers that are sensitive to treatment by this drug.

Phebra Chief Executive, Dr Mal Eutick, said that the researchers had already 
seen positive indications in the in vitro trials to date, with the new arsenic 
compound successfully targeting a number of cancers including APL, Acute 
Myeloid Leukaemia (AML) and potentially pancreatic cancer.

“Phebra have been very impressed with the range, detail and quality of Dr 
Dillon and Ms Carrell’s work. We are excited to be working in collaboration 
with UOW and are very enthusiastic about the initial laboratory studies that 
show activity, not only in haematological cancers such as APL and AML, but also 
potentially, in pancreatic cancer which has proven to be very difficult to 
treat,” Dr Eutick said today.

“We’ve been encouraged by the strong data generated to date, showing the 
positive outcomes of successfully linking arsenic to cancer-targeting peptides, 
resulting in significantly-reduced levels of indiscriminate toxicity.” 

“Phebra believes it has the potential to represent a next generation of 
treatment. We are moving into animal trials later this year and expect to see 
positive results quite soon. Obviously, it will take time to conduct human 
studies but, potentially, it will be a huge benefit for patients and clinicians 
in treating many cancers.”

Dr Dillon said, “This research has been progressing for a number of years with 
promising results in vitro.  We have confirmed our proof of concept, showing 
that the compound is one thousand times more toxic to the specific leukemia 
cells in comparison to normal blood cells.  We recognise that we still have a 
long way to go before this drug can proceed to clinical trials, but we are 
hopeful that it will prove successful.”

“We are really excited to be working with Phebra. Firstly, the collaboration 
provides the potential to market our anti-cancer drug if it proves successful 
in the clinic, and secondly, it provides our medicinal chemistry honours and 
PhD students with invaluable insight into the pharmaceutical manufacturing and 
marketing world,” Dr Dillon said.

About Phebra:

Phebra is an Australian based specialty pharmaceutical company which develops, 
manufactures and markets critical medicines in Australia and across the world. 

At Phebra, we create critical medicines that save and improve lives.

Phebra media contact: Richard Lenarduzzi. +61-411-254-390

About the University of Wollongong:

University of Wollongong is a research-intensive university regarded as one of 
Australia’s best modern universities and ranked among the top two per cent of 
universities in the world. 

UOW has built an international reputation for world-class research and 
exceptional teaching quality across a broad range of disciplines throughout its 
Australian and offshore campuses, and via its global network of research and 
teaching partners.

UOW has a five-star status in global ratings, was recognised among the world’s 
best institutions for teaching excellence in 2018, and was ranked 13th in the 
world in the 2019 Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings.

Media Contact:
Tel: +61-2-4221-4227 

UOW Newsroom: 

SOURCE: Phebra

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