Healthcare Industry News: Mesothelioma
News Release - May 18, 2006
Alfacell Corporation To Launch New Program to Explore Potential of ONCONASE(R) to Prevent MesotheliomaBLOOMFIELD, N.J., May 18 (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Alfacell Corporation (Nasdaq: ACEL ) announced today that Dr. Michele Carbone, Chairman of the Company's Thoracic Cancer Advisory Board, will lead a groundbreaking program to evaluate the potential of ONCONASE (ranpirnase) and other medications to prevent Mesothelioma. The program will be conducted in Turkey with the full permission and cooperation of Prof. Dr. A. Murat Tuncer, Chairman, Department of Cancer Control, Ministry of Health in Turkey. The Nevsehir region of Turkey, where the high risk of Mesothelioma has been well-documented, is the first selected area for the program.
At a recent joint press conference with Professor Tuncer at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Carbone commented on the rationale for including ONCONASE in this program. "Our hypothesis is that ONCONASE, with its proven affinity for rapidly-dividing cancerous cells, inhibition of protein synthesis and induction of apoptosis, will block the formation of tumors and therefore arrest or eradicate the disease in its early stages without the need for surgery," stated Dr. Carbone. "As such, swift identification of at-risk families exposed to asbestos and erionite, which are clearly linked to the onset of Mesothelioma, early diagnosis of the disease and treatment with ONCONASE will be among the key cornerstones of this exciting program."
Under the program, ONCONASE and other drugs will be provided at no cost to patients. Dr. Carbone and his team will then monitor the efficacy of the various agents as preventative treatments. The incidence and prevalence rates of Mesothelioma in the selected regions observed during the program are among the other data to be analyzed.
The clinical costs will be paid by the Ministry of Health in Turkey, while the research to identify the gene that causes the Mesothelioma epidemic is presently supported by a grant from the American Cancer Society and in the immediate future will be supported by a PO-1 grant awarded by the National Cancer Institute to Dr. Carbone and his research team.
About Alfacell Corporation
Alfacell Corporation is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapeutics for cancer, using its proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology platform. ONCONASE® (ranpirnase), Alfacell's lead investigational drug candidate, is currently being evaluated in several studies, including a Phase IIIb trial for malignant Mesothelioma (MM) and a Phase I / II trial in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC). For more information, please visit http://www.alfacell.com.
About Michele Carbone, M.D., Ph.D.
Dr. Carbone is Director of the Thoracic Oncology Program at Loyola University in Chicago, where he is also a tenured Professor at the Cancer Center, Department of Pathology. Previously, Dr. Carbone held scientific and academic positions at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and at the University of Chicago. He is a board certified pathologist, and a past recipient of the NIH's prestigious Fogarty Fellowship. During his fellowship at the NIH, Dr. Carbone obtained his Ph.D. in Human Pathology through a combined research program between the University of Roma and the NIH. He is well-known for his groundbreaking research that identified the SV40 virus -- previously characterized only as a polio vaccine contaminant -- as a human carcinogen in Mesothelioma, and for discovering that genetic predisposition to mineral fiber carcinogenesis is the cause of a Mesothelioma epidemic in Turkey. More recently, Dr. Carbone's work has identified the mechanisms of asbestos carcinogenesis and co-carcinogenesis with SV40. Dr. Carbone's work in Mesothelioma has been acknowledged by the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the American Cancer Society, and other leading research institutions, which have awarded him numerous grants in recent years -- including a $9.5M PO-1 in 2006 from the NCI to study the pathogenesis of Mesothelioma. Dr. Carbone has authored nearly 200 publications, including original research articles, books, and book chapters. He is a graduate of the Medical School of Rome, and obtained board certification in Anatomic Pathology from both the University of Roma and the University of Chicago.
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