Dr. Gerber, assistant professor at the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center of UT Southwestern, will receive a three-year award totaling $200,000 to support his original research, A Pilot Study of the Biologic Effects of Chemotherapy Plus Bavituximab in Patients with Advanced Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer. These competitive awards are available to promising physician researchers who are full-time faculty members in a clinical setting at an academic medical center.
Bavituximab is also currently being tested in combination with chemotherapy in two Phase II trials in advanced breast cancer. Preliminary positive results from one of these trials were the subject of an oral presentation at the 2009 ASCO Annual Meeting.
About Phosphatidylserine (PS)-Targeting Immunotherapies
The rapid and disorganized growth that is the hallmark of cancer results in the exposure of the lipid phosphatidylserine (PS) on the surface of tumor blood vessels. Since these phospholipids are typically not exposed on the surface of normal tissues, they represent a unique target for anti-cancer treatments. Bavituximab is a monoclonal antibody that binds specifically to these phospholipids exposed on the surface of the cells lining tumor blood vessels. Once bound, bavituximab alerts the body's immune system to attack the tumor blood vessels, inhibiting tumor growth and proliferation. In addition, a growing body of evidence supports the active role of PS in immune signaling, with recent research showing that exposed PS can have an immunosuppressive effect and dampen the body's normal response to cancer. By binding to and blocking PS, bavituximab is believed to boost the body's ability to combat cancer via this second immunostimulatory mechanism. Further information on the role of exposed PS in the tumor environment can be found in the Anti-PS Technical Backgrounder posted at
|SOURCE Peregrine Pharmaceuticals, Inc.|
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