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Caspase Inhibitor Enters Clinical Trial In Islet Transplantation As Treatment For Diabetes
Date:7/19/2012

SAN DIEGO and EDMONTON, Alberta, July 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. and the University of Alberta announced today the treatment of the first patient in an investigator-initiated islet cell transplant Phase I/II trial of emricasan (IDN-6556), a pan-caspase inhibitor.  The objective of the trial is to determine safety, achievement and maintenance of insulin independence and to obtain preliminary data on the efficacy of emricasan to maintain adequate immunological protection against both allo- and autoimmunity of islet cell transplant recipients.  The sponsor of the trial is the University of Alberta and the principal investigator is A. M. James Shapiro, M.D., Ph.D.

"Preclinical studies support the use of a pan-caspase inhibitor therapy to broaden the availability of clinical islet transplantation.  Enhancing islet engraftment post-transplant should prolong graft longevity, resulting in a more quiescent immunological state and thereby enhancing long-term rates of insulin independence.  Inhibition of islet apoptosis in the immediate post-transplant period may reduce the amount and intensity of anti-rejection therapy, accelerating 'accommodation' and drug minimization.  If this could be achieved, or if stable immunological tolerance was enhanced through emricasan treatment, islet transplantation would be potentially safer and therefore more available to a broader spectrum of patients with type 1 diabetes," said Dr. Shapiro.  "Over 750 islet transplantations are now carried out each year in 30 active centers worldwide.  Diabetologists, funding organizations and regulatory agencies recognize islet transplantation as an effective therapy to prevent episodic hypoglycemia, correct glycated hemoglobin and reduce risk of secondary diabetic complication."

"As Conatus pursues the development of emricasan on our own in liver disease, I am pleased to support new treatment paradigms in diabetes.  I
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SOURCE Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc.
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