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Antisense Therapeutics Limited (ASX:ANP) ATL1103 Potential in Cancer Treatment

ATL1103 Potential in Cancer Treatment
 
- ANP is developing ATL1103 targeting the Growth Hormone receptor (GHr) for diseases where reducing GH and IGF-I effects may lead to disease treatment
- Recent scientific publication highlighting role of growth hormone and IGF-I in preventing diseases related to ageing – namely cancer and diabetes, re-enforces ATL1103’s potential in this space - ANP is consulting with leading expert to establish an experimental program to evaluate the potential of ATL1103 in cancer prevention and therapy
 
Antisense Therapeutics Limited (“ANP” or “the Company”) is developing ATL1103, its second generation antisense compound that targets the Growth Hormone receptor (GHr), for diseases where reducing GH and insulin like growth factor I (IGF-I) effects may lead to disease treatment. These diseases include acromegaly, diabetic retinopathy and nephropathy and some forms of cancer. In studies previously conducted by ANP, ATL1103 has shown the successful inhibition of GHr and suppression of serum IGF-I levels in both mice and primates.
 
The Company plans to evaluate the potential of ATL1103 in cancer prevention and therapy and is consulting with a leading expert, Dr Pinchas Cohen M.D., Professor and Chief of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA, to establish an appropriate experimental program as part of its ATL1103 development plans.
 
This initiative follows a recent scientific publication co-authored by Dr Cohen on the role of GH and IGF-I in preventing diseases related to ageing, namely cancer and diabetes. The scientific publication entitled “Growth Hormone Deficiency is Associated with a Major Reduction in Pro-Ageing Signalling, Cancer, Diabetes in Humans” (Guevara-Aguirre J et al Sci Transl Med 3, 70, 70RA13 2011) has received media attention including articles: “Suppression of human growth hormone may ward off cancer, diabetes”, Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times, February 16 2011 and “Where cancer doesn’t exist”, The Age, February 17, 2011. The Guevara-Aguirre et al scientific publication and reported study findings have also been the subject of a recent scientific editorial “Is Growth Hormone Resistance/IGF-I Reduction Good for You?” (Gallagher and LeRoith; Cell Metabolism 13, April 6, 2011) where the study findings are viewed as supporting the concept that reductions in GH and IGFI signaling may be important in protecting against the development of cancer.
 
The Guevara-Aguirre et al publication reported on a study of a patient population with Laron syndrome who carry a genetic mutation that silences their GHr and consequently have depressed levels of GHr and IGF-I. People with Laron syndrome have short stature due to this genetic mutation, however the authors found that over the twenty two years that they were observed, this study population of 99 subjects experienced only one case of cancer (it was non-lethal) and no cases of diabetes. This contrasts with a prevalence of 17% for cancer and 5% for diabetes in the control subjects who were relatives unaffected by growth hormone receptor deficiency.
 
In the study, the authors tested serum samples from this population who had the GHr defect and found that these samples induced higher levels of cellular protection and resulted in decreased proliferation and reduced expression of specific pro-growth signaling genes, which regulate growth, promote ageing and lead to activation of processes that may lead to cancer progression. The authors conclude by saying that their results lead them to consider testing medications that block growth hormone activity in ways that might protect against diseases of ageing, in particular cancer.
 
ANP believe these results provide further validation for the rationale for development of ATL1103, and in particular its’ potential as a cancer therapeutic. Furthermore, it opens up the very exciting potential new application of ATL1103 in the prevention of certain forms of cancer in high risk individuals.
 
Professor Cohen stated “I have for some time had a professional interest in the role of GH and IGF-I in age related diseases such as cancer and in addition to the scientific paper that I contributed to on this topic, there have been a number of other publications suggesting a key role for GHr suppression in disease modification. I am excited to be working with Antisense Therapeutics to establish an experimental program to evaluate the potential of ATL1103 in this field.”
 
Professor George Werther, non executive Director of Antisense Therapeutics and Director of Endocrinology at The Royal Children’s Hospital added “We are delighted to have Professor Cohen advising on the development of ATL1103 relevant to the potential cancer application. Dr Cohen and I have a long term association and a similar long term research interest in the role of GH and IGF-I in disease pathogenesis. Dr Cohen’s input will be invaluable as we delve further into potential new applications for ATL1103 such as cancer prevention.”
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