"Our basic assumption at Biocancell is that BC-819 should be given to cancer patients together with chemotherapy," said Biocancell Therapeutics Ltd. (TASE:BICL) co-founder and CSO Prof. Avraham Hochberg in his first interview since the company announced positive results of an animal study of the BC-819 drug in conjunction with Gemzar (Gemcitabine) a week ago. Gemzar is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating pancreatic cancer. The combined use of the drugs significantly reduced the size of malignant tumors, or prevented their appearance.
The results are important, as BC-819 is only several days away from reporting results of a Phase I/II a clinical trial for pancreatic cancer.
Hochberg is a professor of molecular biology at Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He said, "The power of BC-819 will be its admittance to the arsenal of treatments of cancer in combination with chemotherapy (subject to successful clinical trials - H.K.). It will enable much more targeted and effective treatment to prevent tumors, as well as treating the tumors themselves. The future objective is to use our drug for the treatment of a wide range of cancers."
Hochberg continued, "So far, we've tested the effectiveness of the drug in conjunction with chemotherapy on animals on a pancreas cancer model, and demonstrated that it is possible to significantly reduce the appearance of tumors. With the help of a direct injection into the tumor, we are also able to significantly the size of the tumor. This will meet its first clinical test with the start of the Phase IIb clinical trial of a combination of our drug and Gemzar on pancreas cancer."
BC-819 is aimed at preventing the appearance of malignant tumors and greatly reducing the size of primary tumors. "This is a targeted treatment that does not cause major side effects. We're able to destroy cancer cells in a targeted way without harming healthy cells. This is carried out by identifying the gene that is expressed only in the cancer cells, but not in healthy cells, and using the gene to activate a toxin only within the cancer cells."
Biocancell's share price rose 18.1% by early afternoon to NIS 3.85, giving a market cap of NIS 80 million.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on October 21, 2010
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