GAITHERSBURG, Md., April 18, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- MedImmune, Inc. today announced the publication of preclinical study data demonstrating a role for high mobility group box protein-1 (HMGB1), a nuclear DNA-binding protein, in the pathology of systemic autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE or lupus) and rheumatoid arthritis. Data to be published in the May 2007 issue of Nature Immunology show that HMGB1 is an essential component of DNA-immune complexes that stimulate immune cells to produce potent inflammatory proteins. The data supplement earlier preclinical evidence that HMGB1 may be an important factor in the sequence of events that result in severe tissue damage following injury or during chronic inflammation. The data also suggest that a blocking antibody to HMGB1 may provide protection in chronic inflammatory diseases.
"MedImmune is committed to developing innovative treatments for inflammatory diseases, and among our key areas of focus are the disease pathology of lupus and the role of B cells in autoimmunity," said Anthony J. Coyle, vice president, research and development, and head, inflammation and autoimmunity research. "These data, applicable to several programs within our pipeline, demonstrate a novel mechanism by which HMGB1 mediates B cell activation and may contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmune disorders."
HMGB1's potential role in chronic inflammatory diseases is the focus of ongoing preclinical research conducted by MedImmune in collaboration with its partner, Critical Therapeutics, Inc. The Nature Immunology article, titled "Toll-like receptor 9-dependent activation by DNA containing immune complexes is mediated by HMGB1 and RAGE," contains data showing that HMGB1 is a key component of DNA-immune complexes that stimulate activation of B cells and plasmacytoid den dritic cells (pDCs) via the toll-like receptor 9 pathway (TLR9). Both B cells and pDCs are associated with immune system disorders such as lupus. The data also suggest that HMGB1 DNA-immune complexes augment production of inflammatory proteins by interacting with the receptor for advanced glycation end products (RAGE).
HMGB1, a pro-inflammatory protein secreted by different cell types, is part of the body's response to trauma and infection. HMGB1 is expressed at high levels beginning 12 to 72 hours after an injury, which is about the time inflammation-associated tissue damage begins. Because of the timing and duration of expression of HMGB1, it may be an important factor in the sequence of events that result in severe tissue damage following injury or during chronic inflammation.
According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million Americans may suffer from some form of lupus, a chronic inflammatory disease that causes the body to attack its own tissues and organs, including the skin, joints, blood and kidneys. Treatments for lupus include anti-inflammatory drugs, antimalarials, corticosteroids and drugs approved for other purposes, such as immunosuppressive agents given to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or medicines developed to treat patients with arthritis. Lupus occurs about 10 times more frequently in adult females than adult males, and is two to three times more common among African Americans, Hispanics, Asians and Native Americans.
About MedImmune, Inc.
MedImmune strives to provide better medicines to patients, new medical options for physicians, rewarding careers to employees, and increased value to shareholders. Dedicated to advancing science and medicine to help people live better lives, the company is focused on the areas of infectious diseases, cancer and inflammatory diseases. With more than 2,500 employees worldwide, MedImmune is headquartered in Maryland. For more information, visit the company's website at www.medimmune.com.
This announcement may contain, in addition to historical information, certain forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties, in particular, related to the research and development of antibodies targeting HMGB1. Such statements reflect management's current views and are based on certain assumptions about the success of this program. Actual results could differ materially from those currently anticipated as a result of a number of factors, including risks and uncertainties discussed in MedImmune's filings with the SEC. MedImmune is developing HMGB1-related product candidates for potential future marketing. There can be no assurance that such development efforts will succeed, that such products will receive required regulatory clearance or that, even if such regulatory clearance were received, such products would ultimately achieve commercial success.
CONTACT: Media, Kate Barrett, +1-301-398-4320, or Investors, BeatricePierre, +1-301-398-4905, both of MedImmune, Inc.
Web site: http://www.medimmune.com/
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