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Progen Technology Switches on Cancer Fighting Genes and Inhibits Tumor Growth

BRISBANE, Australia, April 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited (ASX: PGL; Nasdaq: PGLA) has released data that shows its epigenetic technology successfully inhibits tumor growth.

The results of the pre-clinical experiments, presented by Progen's collaborators at the 100th Annual American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Conference, revealed Progen's product was effective in 'switching on' important anti-cancer genes - a significant achievement in epigenetics research and cancer therapeutics.

Progen CEO Justus Homburg said the latest findings reinforced Progen's position at the forefront of anti-cancer drug research.

"Epigenetics represents an exciting new target for cancer therapeutics and is a focus of this AACR meeting. We are very proud to have achieved such promising results in this exciting area of research," he said.

Epigenetics technology represents one of the latest breakthroughs in cancer drug development which focuses on expression (switching on) or silencing (switching off) of certain genes.

Progen and its collaborators have focused their research on an enzyme known as lysine specific demethylase 1(LSD1), which contributes to the silencing of important tumor suppressor genes. They have successfully developed PG11144 that inhibits LSD1 and reactivates (expresses) the silenced genes that are inactivated in cancer.

Progen's Chief Scientific Officer Dr Laurence Marton said the results showed the product successfully inhibited tumor growth in test tubes and living organisms.

"We believe the use of LSD1 inhibitors represents a highly promising and novel approach to cancer prevention and therapy, and may be suitable for multiple indications."

In addition to its epigenetics findings, Progen also presented an update on its cell proliferation technology at the AACR Conference.

Progen's lead cell proliferation product, PG11047, targets hyper-proliferating cells specifically to inhibit tumor growth, and is currently undergoing two phase 1 clinical trials.

The pre-clinical research presented at the Conference showed the product provides a significant additive anti-cancer effect when combined with Cisplatin and Avastin when compared with either drug alone in lung cancer and prostate cancer models respectively.

Progen is currently progressing PG11047 through early clinical development in parallel to additional translational studies to determine the most promising indications.

Mr Homburg said to date, 44 patients had been treated in the monotherapy PG11047 Phase 1 trial, and over 130 patients in combination studies with approved anti-cancer therapies. The dosing regime in the monotherapy trial has been escalated far beyond Progen's original expectations.

"While we expect to find the maximum dose soon, we already have supporting data that the drug will have a large therapeutic window when given as a monotherapy," he said.

Mr Homburg said the latest findings in Progen's epigenetics and cell proliferation technologies represented another important milestone in the development of its anti-cancer portfolio.

"These latest findings prove we have the technology, the expertise and the resources to progress our strong product pipeline," he said.

"We have a fantastic team of collaborators, who have played a significant role in these achievements.

"We are very pleased to have had the opportunity to present these findings on the world stage, among leaders of the international scientific community."

About Progen

Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited is a biotechnology company committed to the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule pharmaceuticals primarily for the treatment of cancer. Progen has built a focus and strength in anti-cancer drug discovery and development. Progen targets the multiple mechanisms of cancer across its three technology platforms of angiogenesis, epigenetics and cell proliferation. Progen has operations in Australia and the United States of America.

    For more information:
    Dr Laurence Marton
    Chief Scientific Officer
    Phone: 650-906-5893

This release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current management expectations. These statements may differ materially from actual future events or results due to certain risks and uncertainties, including without limitation, risks associated with drug development and manufacture, risks inherent in the extensive regulatory approval process mandated by, amongst others, the United States Food and Drug Administration and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration, delays in obtaining the necessary approvals for clinical testing, patient recruitment, delays in the conduct of clinical trials, market acceptance of PI-88, PG11047, PG545, PG562, PG11122, PG11144 and other drugs, future capital needs, general economic conditions, and other risks and uncertainties detailed from time to time in the Company's filings with the Australian Securities Exchange and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Moreover, there can be no assurance that others will not independently develop similar products or processes or design around patents owned or licensed by the Company, or that patents owned or licensed by the Company will provide meaningful protection or competitive advantages.

Abstract Details

Abstract Number: LB-173

Presentation Title: Novel oligoamine/polyamine analogues inhibit lysine-specific demethylase 1 (LSD1), induce re-expression of epigenetically silenced genes, and inhibit the growth of established human tumors in vivo

Presentation Start/End Time: Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

Location: Hall B-F, Poster Section 15

Abstract Number: LB-205

Presentation Title: PG11047, A Polyamine Analog, Induces Potent Antitumor Activity in a Preclinical Model of Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer in Combination with Cisplatin.

Presentation Start/End Time: Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

Location: Hall B-F, Poster Section 26

Abstract Number: 3194

Presentation Title: Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP) evaluation of the novel polyamine analogue PG11047

Presentation Start/End Time: Tuesday, Apr 21, 2009, 8:00 AM -12:00 PM

Location: Hall B-F, Poster Section 10

Full abstract details are available on the ASX announcement on Progen's website:

SOURCE Progen Pharmaceuticals Limited
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