Unique Targeted Chemotherapy Treatment Developed by Czech Scientists Moves into Clinical Trials

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CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency of the Czech Republic, today announced that a unique targeted chemotherapy treatment developed at the Institute of Microbiology, part of the Czech Academy of Sciences, is poised to move into clinical trials on humans. Zentiva, one of the top five Central and Eastern European pharmaceutical groups, has reported the company will spearhead clinical trials of the drug in the Czech Republic.

CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency of the Czech Republic, today announced that a unique targeted chemotherapy treatment developed at the Institute of Microbiology, part of the Czech Academy of Sciences, is poised to move into clinical trials on humans. Zentiva, one of the top five Central and Eastern European pharmaceutical groups, has reported the company will spearhead clinical trials of the drug in the Czech Republic.

Preliminary clinical research has demonstrated hopeful results and gained the Czech Academy of Science worldwide recognition. Similar medicines, based on the discoveries of Czech scientists, are being investigated by researchers in the US, Japan and Britain. The drug avoids many of the toxic side effects of conventional chemotherapy, destroying only cancer cells.

Professor Blanka Rihova, head of research at the Institute of Microbiology and co-developer of the drug explains: "Active targeting means that the drug is in some type of conjugate that is targeted using antibodies, lactines or different chemical structures. These chemical structures recognize the specific site, the specific mark on the surface of malignant cells."

Rihova continues: “The conjugate, which is based on a Czech-English patent, is a copolymer of HPMA, a molecule with a very long chemical name, N-(2-hydroxypropyl) methacrylamide. It‘s a synthetic water-soluble polymer that is the backbone of the conjugate to which the drug and targeting structures are bound.”

Data from animal experiments confirm substantially reduced side effects and nonspecific toxicity such as myelotoxicity, hepatotoxicity, cardiotoxicity and nephrotoxicity.

"Classic therapy is directed against malignant cells but also against normal cells that very actively proliferate. That means that not only malignant cells but also cells of the immune system, cells in the gastrointestinal tract and gonads are really in danger in traditional treatments,” states Rihova.

Rihova’s research suggests that the drug is likely best suited for the treatment of breast, colon and certain types of lung cancer.

“The Czech Republic has consistently made important strides in life sciences research,” stated Radomil Novák, Chief Executive Officer of CzechInvest. “Research undertaken in the Czech Republic is resulting in commercially viable leading edge treatments that are addressing global challenges.”

Czech Republic will showcase its life science sector and leading Czech-based biotechnology companies at the upcoming Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) annual convention, BIO 2005, June 19-22 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

About CzechInvest

CzechInvest, the Investment and Business Development Agency, is an agency of the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Established in 1992, the agency contributes to attracting foreign investment and developing domestic companies through its services and development programs. CzechInvest promotes the Czech Republic abroad and acts as an intermediary between the EU and small and medium-sized enterprises in implementing structural funds.

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