On Monday, April 23, 2007, Cinara Echart, Ph.D., Manager of Biological Research Laboratory at Gentium, will present a poster entitled "Defibrotide Modulates Glucose-Induced Heparanase Expression In Endothelial Cells: A Potential Mechanism Of Anti-Diabetic Activity" (Abstract #1382).
Diabetic nephropathy is characterized by a loss of glomerular basement membrane (GBM) integrity, which is a major cause of end-stage renal failure. Heparanase plays a key role in this aberrant remodeling of the GBM and has been shown to be up-regulated by hyperglycemic conditions such as found in diabetic patients.
Discussing the results, Dr. Echart said, "Our data suggests that Defibrotide not only has an effect on the down-regulation of heparanase gene expression, but also decreases its enzymatic activity in endothelial cells. Since heparanase is a critical factor in maintaining GBM integrity and is elevated in diabetic nephropathy, it should be considered for the management of this disease."
Laura Ferro, M.D., Gentium's president and chief executive officer, said, "These preclinical results are very exciting and encourage us to pursue further studies of Defibrotide's therapeutic potential in the management of diabetic nephropathy, a chronic disease for which there are limited treatment options. Further encouraging is that these data corroborate recently reported preclinical data showing Defibrotide to suppress heparanase expression and heparanase enzymatic activity in multiple myeloma cell lines."
It has previously been reported that Defibrotide, a polydisperse oligonucleotide with anti-thrombotic, thro mbolytic, anti-ischemic and anti-angiogenic proprieties, suppressed in vitro both the expression of heparanase gene and heparanase enzymatic activity in multiple myeloma tumor cell lines. Consequently, this study addressed Defibrotide's effectiveness to regulate the expression and activity of heparanase in human microvascular endothelial cell (HMEC) and rat kidney epithelial cell lines (NRK52E) grown in hyperglycemia conditions.
Gentium, S.p.A., located in Como, Italy, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research, discovery and development of drugs to treat and prevent a variety of vascular diseases and conditions related to cancer and cancer treatments. Defibrotide, the Company's lead product candidate, is an investigational drug that has been granted Orphan Drug status and Fast Track Designation by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat Severe Veno-occlusive disease (VOD) and Orphan Medicinal Product Designation by the European Commission both to treat and to prevent VOD.
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Gary G. Gemignani, Chief Financial Officer
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