Oslo, Norway, 9 June 2009 - Algeta ASA, the cancer therapeutics company, announces that a series of scientific papers demonstrating the potential of the alpha-emitter platform to generate new antibody therapeutics targeting breast cancer and lymphoma will be presented at the forthcoming 56th annual Society for Nuclear Medicine 2009 meeting (Toronto, Canada; 13-17 June).
The scientific papers demonstrate the targeted and localized anticancer potential of the alpha-emitter thorium-227 (227Th) linked to trastuzumab (Herceptin) and to rituximab (Rituxan). These antibodies target tumors expressing the cell surface proteins HER-2 and CD20, which are present on certain breast cancer and lymphoma cells, respectively.
This is the first time that the targeted cancer cell-killing effect of 227Th-trastuzumab will be presented and suggests that further studies be conducted with this alpha-pharmaceutical as a novel treatment for breast cancer. Trastuzumab targets tumor cells presenting the HER-2 receptor, and tumors in approximately 25% of breast cancer patients carry this marker.
Other presentations at the meeting will provide further evidence of the targeted therapeutic effect and safety of 227Th-rituximab as a new alpha-pharmaceutical for treating non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Algeta and its academic collaborators have previously published data on the potential of 227Th-rituximab to target and kill lymphoma cells in the leading medical journal Blood (Dahle, J. et al. 2007). The new presented findings support the clinical development of this novel alpha-pharmaceutical in this indication.
The exciting findings from early studies linking thorium-227 to these highly validated and specifically targeted antibodies will be presented by scientists from the Norwegian Radium Hospital and other leading Norwegian research institutes, who generated the data in collaboration with Algeta.
Thorium-227, like radium-223 - which forms the basis of Alpharadin, Algeta's lead product in phase III development for treating bone metastases in patients with advanced prostate cancer - is an element (radionuclide) that emits high-energy alpha particles. Such elements are of considerable interest in the treatment of cancer as they are potent at killing tumor cells but have a highly localized effect. By linking thorium-227 to tumor-targeting molecules such as monoclonal antibodies, Algeta has the potential to create a pipeline of new generation alpha-pharmaceuticals with the potential to specifically seek and destroy cancers while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissues.
Thomas Ramdahl, EVP and Chief Technology Officer at Algeta, said, "The studies that will be presented by our academic collaborators at the SNM meeting further highlight the exciting potential of our alpha-emitter technology platform to generate new targeted and effective cancer therapeutics. The success of monoclonal antibodies in targeting specific tumor cells provides a significant opportunity to build a unique pipeline of novel alpha-pharmaceuticals."