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Pixantrone Shows Activity in a Preclinical Study of Experimental Autoimmune Myasthenia Gravis (EAMG)
Date:2/11/2008

Results reported in The Journal of Immunology

SEATTLE, Feb. 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Cell Therapeutics, Inc. (CTI) (Nasdaq and MTAX: CTIC) announced that pixantrone was shown to reduce the severity of clinical manifestation in the animal model of the autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis (MG). MG is a chronic autoimmune neuromuscular disease characterized by varying degrees of weakness of the skeletal (voluntary) muscles of the body due to autoantibodies acting against the Acethylcholine Receptor. The preclinical study was published in The Journal of Immunology (180:2696-2703, 2008) by Fulvio Baggi, M.D. and Renato Mantegazza, M.D., of the "Carlo Besta" Neurological Institute Foundation in Milan. The study compared pixantrone with the related drug, mitoxantrone, an agent currently approved to treat severe multiple sclerosis, also an autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system. In the current study, pixantrone was found to be more effective than mitoxantrone at improving both the laboratory and the clinical manifestations of the MG equivalent in rats. The authors concluded that "pixantrone [is] a promising immunosuppressant agent suitable for clinical investigation in myasthenia gravis, although additional experiments are needed to confirm its safety profile in prolonged treatments."

Current therapeutic treatment options for myasthenia gravis include corticosteroids and immunosuppressive drugs, both of which are effective in most patients. However, some patients do not respond to the standard treatments, and side effects may limit prolonged administration. Mitoxantrone has a broad immunosuppressive effect, but has cumulative cardiotoxicity and prolonged treatment can result in a decrease in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF -- the amount of blood the heart pumps out with each beat) or, rarely, congestive heart failure. Pixantrone's mechanism of action is similar to that of mitoxantrone -- both act as DNA interc
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SOURCE Cell Therapeutics, Inc.
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