AGY Therapeutics Identifies Novel Therapeutic Target for Aggressive Form Of Brain Cancer
-- Findings Published in the Peer-Reviewed Journal Oncogene --
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. October 03, 2003 AGY Therapeutics Inc. today announced the publication of studies that have identified a novel target, receptor tyrosine phosphatase zeta or RPTP zeta, for the potential treatment of glioblastoma, the most invasive and aggressive form of brain cancer. The studies, which provide further evidence of the power of AGY's functional genomics capabilities, are published in the latest edition of the peer-reviewed journal Oncogene.
"We have shown that RPTP zeta appears to play a key role in the aggressive migratory and invasive behavior of glioblastomas," said Karoly Nikolich, founder and chief scientific officer of AGY. "Our studies suggest that RPTP zeta is a promising target for antibody-based therapeutic intervention for the effective treatment of this particularly malignant form of brain cancer."
The paper, entitled "A role for receptor tyrosine phosphatase zeta in glioma cell migration," outlines studies by scientists at AGY undertaken in collaboration with the University Hospital Eppendorf in Hamburg, Germany. Comparative analysis of 14 individual glioblastoma tumor samples with normal brain tissue identified 200 genes that were up-regulated in tumor tissue. Detailed analysis of these 200 genes identified RPTP zeta as a potential therapeutic target. Further analysis of glioblastoma tissues showed the abundance of this protein in tumor tissues, and genetic manipulation of glioblastoma cells in culture showed that it was functionally important to cellular migration and therefore of importance to the aggressive malignancy of this tumor type.
"We continue to reap the rewards of our unparalleled neurologically-focused functional genomics technology platform 'ImAGYne,'" said Cynthia J. Ladd, AGY's president and CEO. "This technology provides us with the power to accurately pinpoint the quantitative variations in gene expression between normal and diseased neurological tissue. Individual genes can then be screened using state of the art biological and computational technologies to rapidly identify the most viable therapeutic targets."
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Glioblastomas are fast growing tumors derived from cells that constitute the supportive tissue in the brain. These tumors can rapidly invade adjacent normal brain tissue and spread throughout the central nervous system. They account for approximately 12-15% of all intracranial human cancers. A main characteristic of glioblastomas is its extreme migrational potential, which is characterized by the rapid onset and progression of symptoms of neurological and neurocognitive deterioration associated with the fast tumor growth. Current methods of treatment include neurosurgery, chemotherapy, radiation and steroids. The tumor grows quickly, invades nearby healthy tissue, and often recurs after treatment.
AGY Therapeutics' proprietary ImAGYne platform defines the intra- and extra-cellular signaling pathways that underlie the pathological progression of central nervous system (CNS) diseases, so novel, high-quality targets can be carefully selected and functionally validated with the most valuable targets advanced into drug discovery and development. To date, AGY Therapeutics has identified and characterized a number of promising drug targets to treat or diagnose CNS diseases.
About AGY Therapeutics
AGY Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company, is dedicated to discovering and developing novel treatments for central nervous system (CNS) diseases, including stroke, depression, cognitive and mental diseases and brain tumors.