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Roskamp Institute to Begin Human Alzheimer's Clinical Trials With a Natural Compound in Tobacco
Date:10/7/2010

SARASOTA, Fla., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today the Roskamp Institute said that it is pleased to announce that it will soon begin clinical trials of RCP-006, a compound found in tobacco, for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The compound was developed by Rock Creek Pharmaceuticals, a subsidiary of Star Scientific in Virginia, and made available to Roskamp through its affiliate, SRQ Bio, LLC.

In laboratory tests with cells, the compound, RCP-006, a natural product, inhibits inflammation and the production of amyloid, both of which cause Alzheimer's disease.  Previous studies have shown that certain tobacco components may be protective against Alzheimer's disease, but the mechanism was unknown and the negative effects of smoking and tobacco use outweigh these positive benefits.  RCP-006, one of the many compounds found in tobacco, is believed to be responsible for some of the positive medicinal effects of smoking and tobacco use.  In addition to the new clinical trials, Roskamp scientists are working with researchers at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine for other medical applications of RCP-006. RCP-006 is found in the Solanaceae plant family that includes tomatoes, peppers and eggplant, but RCP-006 is very prevalent in tobacco. Roskamp Institute Director, Dr. Michael Mullan, said, "It's ironic that a compound with the potential medical benefits of RCP-006 was hidden in tobacco."

Alzheimer's disease is impacting 5.3 million people in the United States and women have higher risk of getting this devastating disease than men. The economic burden of Alzheimer's in the U.S. is estimated to be $172 billion annually.  

The Roskamp Institute is a non-profit organization devoted to understanding causes and finding cures for neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders. The Institute utilizes a broad range of scientific approaches to understanding the causes of and potential therapies for these disorders with an emphasis on Alzheimer's disease. For more information, please call (941) 752-2949.

SRQ Bio, LLC, a for-profit affiliate of the Roskamp Institute, has a financial interest in Star Scientific. In April 2010, Star Scientific issued to SRQ Bio, LLC 100,000 shares of common stock in a private placement.  In addition, in March 2010, Robert Roskamp, the trustee of the Roskamp Institute, in an individual capacity, purchased shares of Star Scientific stock valued at $1 million, and was issued a matching warrant for an equal number of shares, as part of a private placement transaction.

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