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UF scientists to work with German firm in prostate cancer treatment research
Date:6/18/2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. University of Florida department of urology officials signed an agreement Tuesday to collaborate with the German biopharmaceutical company CureVac to test an experimental therapy for advanced prostate cancer patients who no longer respond to traditional treatment.

CureVac which specializes in the therapeutic application of messenger RNA, a biomolecule that transfers genetic information from nuclear DNA to cellular protein production machinery is developing a stabilized mRNA-derived vaccine for treatment of prostate cancer.

UF researchers will conduct a phase 1/2 clinical trial of the therapy in patients from the United States with metastatic prostate cancer who no longer respond to hormone therapy. Both institutions hope the initial collaboration will result in a better biologic product to work with in the second phase of the clinical trial.

"The agreement with the University of Florida represents our first step to the U.S. as the world's leading pharmaceutical marketplace with world-class academic institutions for research and development," said Thomas Lander, M.D., managing director and chief medical officer of CureVac.

In what will be the first direct-application trial of its kind in the United States, researchers plan to test molecules that have shown the potential to stimulate an immune response against tumors when injected into the skin, potentially providing an alternative therapy for this form of cancer.

"Several studies support the therapeutic potential of mRNA for the treatment of cancer," said Johannes Vieweg, M.D., a professor and chairman of UF's department of urology who is a member of CureVac's scientific advisory board. "This, however, will be the first clinical trial in the U.S. to use the direct application route by injecting modified mRNA into the skin."

UF urology researchers have treated more than 500 patients using RNA-based dendritic cells, which have been used i
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Contact: Melissa M. Thompson
thompsmelissa@gmail.com
352-273-5810
University of Florida
Source:Eurekalert

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