Alkermes Inc. has begun a Phase I/II trial of its drug-deliverycompound RMP-7 in conjunction with carboplatin for treatmentof advanced brain cancer. The trial is being conducted in theUnited Kingdom and will enroll 10-30 patients with advanced-stage, malignant glioma.

RMP-7 is a synthetic bradykinin analog that acts to temporarilyincrease the permeability of the blood-brain barrier andimprove passage of compounds into the brain. RMP-7 isinjected into the bloodstream prior to the target drug. It bindsto specific receptors on the cells of the blood vessels comprisingthe blood brain barrier, triggering a change in the permeabilityof these vessels to allow compounds to pass more freely intothe brain.

RMP-7 is already in a Phase I/II trial in conjunction withamphotericin B in patients with cryptococcal meningitis, anAIDS-related opportunistic infection (see BioWorld, April 12,1993).

In addition to the U.K. trial, Alkermes (NASDAQ:ALKS) ofCambridge, Mass., will begin two similar studies in the U.S. inthe next two months. One of the trials, to be conducted at theUniversity of California, San Francisco, will test RMP-7administered intravenously; in the other, at the University ofCalifornia, Los Angeles, the compound will be administeredthrough an intra-arterial route. Alkermes' director of corporatecommunications, Donna LaVoie, said animal data suggested thatthe intra-arterial route may offer an advantage over theintravenous route. -- Brenda Sandburg

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