Cantab Pharmaceuticals plc is collaborating with Stanford Universityresearchers on a drug development program based on regulation ofactivated T cells, which are linked to a broad range of autoimmune andinflammatory diseases.Terms of the agreement were not detailed. But Cantab's AndrewSandham, chief operating officer, said Tuesday the London-basedcompany has options on acquiring worldwide exclusive rights to patentapplications developed by Stanford.Sandham said the Stanford researchers cloned a receptor, called OX40,that appears to be present only on activated T cells and may provide anew route of intervention into autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.The researchers also found a natural ligand that binds to the receptor."We will look at expression of the OX40 receptor on various cells in awhole range of diseases and whether that provides a targetingmechanism to treat the disease," Sandham said. "Our hope is byinterrupting the activated T cells, it will offer a new way to switch offthe disease."Cantab said activated T cells are found at the site of inflammation inmany disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory boweldiseases, psoriasis, allergic asthma and multiple sclerosis.The initial stage in the collaboration, Sandham said, will involvescreening for presence of the OX40 receptor on normal and diseasedcells. _ Charles Craig

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