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Bionovo Announces Publication Describing How Metabolic Adaptability Contributes to the Metastasis of Tumors

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- Bionovo, Inc. (Nasdaq: BNVI) today announced the publication of a study entitled "CC3/TIP30 regulates metabolic adaptation of tumor cells to glucose limitation" in the journal Cell Cycle. The study describes the critical linkage between the expression of the protein CC3/TIP30 in cancer cells and their ability to adapt and survive in adverse conditions such as lack of glucose and other nutrients. Lack of CC3/TIP30 in a variety of human tumors allows them to resist the death signals created by metabolic stress encountered during aggressive tumor growth and metastases. Absence of CC3/TIP30 thus contributes to the development of aggressive and metastatic cancers.

"The research described in this publication is a result of a long standing interest in the metabolic changes accompanying the development of aggressive cancers. Metabolism has recently become the focus of intense interest in the basic and translational cancer research," said Emma Shtivelman, Ph.D., Director of Cancer Research at Bionovo. "We found that a previously discovered metastasis suppressor CC3/TIP30 affects tumor cell metabolism in unexpected ways. Expression of CC3/TIP30 is low or even absent in a variety of advanced cancers. Our work shows that absence of CC3 contributes to survival of tumor cells under adverse conditions such as lack of nutrients. Tumor cells, in particular metastatic cells, frequently encounter conditions of low glucose availability due to inadequate blood supply. Absence of CC3 allows tumor cells to modify their metabolic preferences and relinquish their dependence on glucose for glycolytic energy production. Cells lacking CC3 adapt to low glucose conditions by activating mitochondrial respiration and oxidative phosphorylation, and continue to survive and proliferate. Cells expressing CC3/TIP30 fail to adapt to limited availability of glucose, and succumb to cell death. Therefore, silencing of CC3/TIP30 expression in aggressive and metastatic cancers provides metabolic flexibility and a survival advantage under adverse conditions."

"The long-known Warburg effect postulates that cancer cells, unlike most normal cells, rely heavily on glycolysis, a process utilizing sugar for energy production, and have dispensed with the normal mitochondrial process, oxidative phosphorylation, utilizing oxygen for energy production," said Isaac Cohen, O.M.D., Bionovo's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Dr. Shtivelman's discovery contributes to our understanding that tumor cells have increased metabolic demands, and could employ a variety of metabolic pathways to support their increased abnormal growth and proliferation. This work was supported by a RO1 grant from the National Cancer Institute to Dr. Shtivelman. Bionovo has been committed to the development of drugs that disrupt these metabolic paths and result in selectively targeting cancer cells while sparing normal cells."

About Bionovo, Inc.

Bionovo, Inc. is a pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of safe and effective treatments for women's health and cancer, markets with significant unmet needs and billions in potential annual revenue. The company applies its expertise in the biology of menopause and cancer to design new drugs derived from botanical sources, which have novel mechanisms of action. Based on the results of early and mid-stage clinical trials, Bionovo believes it has discovered new classes of drug candidates within its rich pipeline with the potential to be leaders in their markets. Bionovo is headquartered in Emeryville, California and its stock is traded on the NASDAQ Capital Market under the symbol "BNVI." For more information about Bionovo and its programs, visit

Forward Looking Statements

This release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to the business of Bionovo, Inc. that can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "believes," "expects," or similar expressions. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including uncertainties relating to product development, efficacy and safety, regulatory actions or delays, the ability to obtain or maintain patent or other proprietary intellectual property protection, market acceptance, physician acceptance, third party reimbursement, future capital requirements, competition in general and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from those described herein as anticipated, believed, estimated or expected. Certain of these risks and uncertainties are or will be described in greater detail in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available at Bionovo, Inc. is under no obligation (and expressly disclaims any such obligation) to update or alter its forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Bionovo, Inc.
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