Elan Pharmaceutical Research Corp. of Gainesville, Ga., a whollyowned subsidiary of Elan Corp. plc of Athlone, Ireland, hasbegun human clinical trials on its EL530 cancer therapy.

Elan is sponsoring the studies under an investigational newdrug (IND) application filed with the FDA.

EL530 arrests the growth of cancer cells in the laboratoryrather than killing them. Elan has exclusive option rights topatents covering EL530, its analogs and their clinicalapplications.

The National Cancer Institute's Dvorit Samid, acting sectionhead of the clinical pharmacology branch, discovered the anti-tumor effects of EL530, which reduces activity of several genes.

EL530 arrested the growth of both prostrate cancer andglioblastoma cells in the laboratory at concentrations thatshould have little, if any, toxic effects in humans based on usesof the drug in children with certain metabolic disorders.

The drug's ability to regulate cell differentiation may bebeneficial in other conditions, such as sickle cell anemia andthallassemia, in which increasing fetal hemoglobin couldovercome symptoms caused by deficient normal hemoglobin.Samid and colleagues have shown EL530 to increase fetalhemoglobin production, a finding later confirmed in clinicalstudies at the Johns Hopkins University Medical School.

Elan is sponsoring preclinical and clinical research on EL530through a cooperative research and development agreement(CRADA) with the clinical pharmacology branch of the NationalCancer Institute.

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