The discovery of a new class of anticancer agents was announced thisweek at the annual meeting of the American Association for CancerResearch by scientists from MicroProbe Corporation and YaleUniversity School of Medicine. In cell cultures, these new agentsappeared to kill certain types of cancer cells without damaging normalcells. They were particularly effective in killing colon and liver cancercells, the scientists reported.According to Y. C. Cheng, professor of pharmacology and medicine atYale University, the chemical features of this new class of agent do notresemble other known chemotherapeutic agents. They areoligonucleotides, but have a unique mechanism of action that does notact as an antisense agent, he said. Instead, they appear to act against amembrane component found only in the susceptible cancer cells,Cheng reported.The new agents also do not appear to have the toxic or unpleasant sideeffects of other treatments for cancer, although they are unlikely toundergo Phase I clinical trials until 1996, Gregory Sessler,MicroProbe's chief financial officer, told BioWorld.y Agouron Pharmaceuticals Inc., of La Jolla, Calif., said interim resultsof Phase I dosing studies of its anti-tumor agent, AG337, a smallsynthetic molecule designed to inhibit the enzyme thymidylatesynthase, support initiation of Phase II efficacy studies in cancerpatients.y Glycomed Inc., of Alameda, Calif., presented data showing thatcarbohydrate compounds are effective in inhibiting the growth ofhuman tumors in nude mouse models. Using tumor volume as ameasure, statistically significant inhibition of tumor growth wasobserved. The studies were conducted with human breast, prostatic andpancreatic tumor cell lines.y Zynaxis Inc., of Malvern, Pa., reported studies demonstratingincreased survival of mice with ovarian tumors following treatmentwith the company's Zyn-Linker drug delivery conjugates. Zyn-Linkersare synthetic lipid-like molecules that are chemically designed to insertinto cell membranes.y Immunomedics Inc., of Morris Plains, N.J., reported that itsmonoclonal antibody against non-Hodgkins B-cell lymphoma, LL2,appears to be superior to other antibodies tested for binding certainanticancer drugs. A spokesman speculated that the new drug antibodyconjugate may also have potential value as a lymphoma therapeuticwith decreased toxicity to normal tissues.y Two Burroughs Wellcome Co. researchers reported findings thatshowed a combination of Navelbine and Taxol results in greaterinhibition of tumor cell growth than that caused by each agentseparately in both cell cultures and animal models.
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