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New animal study supports Rexahn’s Archexin as a potent inhibitor of human cancer cell growth

Rexahn Pharmaceuticals, Inc. recently announced the results of an animal study that demonstrates Archexin’s potential to target and treat multiple life-threatening cancers.

Researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Texas Christian University and Rexahn discovered that AKT1 antisense oligonucleotide (AKT1 AO), the primary compound in Archexin, significantly reduced the expression of AKT1 and inhibited the growth of human cancer cells at the cellular level and in in-vivo models. AKT1 is known to promote cell survival and, therefore, is implicated in tumour growth in a wide range of cancers.

The study, which is to be published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry, also found that the combined treatment of AKT1 AO with cytotoxic drugs showed even greater anti-tumour activity in human renal carcinoma cell line. The findings of the study suggest that AKT1 AO, alone or in combination with other clinically approved anticancer agents, should be further explored and progressed into clinical studies as a potential novel therapeutic agent.

‘Archexin is a first-in-class, potent AKT protein kinase inhibitor with the potential to inhibit cancer cell survival and proliferation, angiogenesis and drug resistance,’ said Dr Deog Joong Kim, a key author of the publication and R&D Director of Rexahn. ‘In March 2009, we initiated Archexin’s Phase II Pancreatic Cancer clinical trial and we expect to receive the preliminary data in humans in 2010.’

According to the National Cancer Institute, there will be 37,680 new cases of pancreatic cancer in the USA this year. It is the fourth leading cause of cancer death overall, and its five-year survival rate is 4%, according to the American Cancer Society. Fewer than 10% of patients' tumours are confined to the pancreas at the time of diagnosis; in most cases, the malignancy has already progressed to the point where surgical removal is impossible. High unmet needs still exist, although current treatment approaches include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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