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Second Ohio State cancer drug begins clinical trials testing
Date:6/18/2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio For the second time within a year, an experimental drug invented by cancer researchers at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James) is being tested on patients in a clinical trial.

This week, adult patients began receiving doses of the potentially groundbreaking drug, which is designed to treat relapsed or treatment-resistant multiple myeloma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia or lymphoma, said Dr. John Byrd, associate director of clinical translational research at OSUCCC-James and a leukemia specialist who initiated the drug's development with Ching-Shih Chen, an Ohio State cancer researcher and medicinal chemist.

The new phase I/IIa clinical trial will assess the safety and initial evidence of activity of the oral drug AR-42, which belongs to a new class of drugs called histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors compounds designed to reactivate genes that normally protect against cancer but are turned off by the cancer process. Ohio State is the only site worldwide accepting patients to the clinical trial, said Byrd.

"Early tests in cancer cell models showed that AR-42 is 10,000 fold more potent than the starting/parent agent," said Chen, a professor of pharmacy, urology and internal medicine who holds the Lucius A. Wing chair of cancer research.

In 2003, Byrd asked Chen to try to improve the potency of a short-chain fatty acid known to have a weak inhibitory effect against cancer growth. Chen worked with cancer center and pharmacy colleagues at Ohio State to develop the drug originally called OSU-HDAC42, a broad spectrum histone and non-histone deacetylation inhibitor (pan-DAC).

The agent has been licensed to the biopharmaceutical company Arno Therapeutics, Inc., for clinical development.

"It is exciting to see this very potent broad class I/II HDAC inhibitor enter the clinic for treatment of blood cancers and we look
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Contact: Eileen Scahill
Eileen.Scahill@osumc.edu
614-293-3737
Ohio State University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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