Paracelsian Inc. announced that it has filed a patent applicationin Europe and Canada for use of p34 cell protein as an earlydiagnostic or prognostic marker for cancer. The Ithaca, N.Y.,company filed a patent application for the technology in theU.S. in January 1993.

Paracelsian said p34, one of the enzymes that regulates celldivision in all mammalian cells, activates the p53 molecule tohalt cell replication. "When the p53 protein is mutated, as seenin many human tumors, unregulated cell growth can occur," thecompany said. "Studies have shown that breast cancer biopsiesare 40 percent positive for p53 mutations and that abnormalp34 levels are found in approximately 90 percent of breasttumor cells."

Mary Lee Noden, Paracelsian's vice president of marketing andbusiness development, said p34 has been found in severalother cancers. She noted that the company is setting uprelationships with cancer institutes for clinical trials to studyp34 as a diagnostic and prognostic marker. The company thinksp34 technology potentially can be used in monitoring AIDSpatients, evaluating Pap smears and diagnosing breast andprostate cancers.

Founded in 1991, Paracelsian markets a cell proliferation assaytest that detects an increase in p34 and thereby determineswhether a chemical compound is capable of causing cancer. Theassay is used in three separate products marketed toresearchers: In Vivo-CDK Elisa, which tests a chemical'scapacity to induce cancer in lab animals; In Vitro-CPA Elisa,which is used with cell lines; and PCNA Elisa Kit, a confirmatorytest for proliferating cell nuclear antigen, which is believed tobe a marker for cell proliferation.

Paracelsian also has developed an environmental diagnostictest, called the Ah-Immunoassay, which is designed to detectand quantify potentially toxic dioxin-like chemicals found inthe environment and workplace. The company is negotiating tolicense the technology.

Paracelsian developed the cell proliferation assay test incollaboration with Cornell University. The company has anexclusive licensing agreement with Cornell Research FoundationInc., a wholly owned subsidiary of the university, for rights topatent applications based on the Ah-Immunoassay andRoboSapien, a multiple cell-culture system. Both technologieswere developed at the university.

Paracelsian (NASDAQ:PRLN) completed its initial public offeringof 1.15 million shares at $5.50 per share in February 1992. Asof Jan. 28, the company had 2.3 million shares of common stockoutstanding, 1.1 million of which are in the public float.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.