Compugen Ltd announced the discovery and experimental validation of a new drug target for the treatment of a type of cancer, sending its shares up as much as 41 percent in pre-market trade.
The compound, CGEN-671, for the treatment of multiple epithelial tumors, is a membrane splice variant of CD55, a known drug target for gastric cancer, for which monoclonal antibody therapeutics are in clinical development by others, the Israeli biotech company said in a statement.
Compugen has filed patent applications covering the splice variant, CGEN-671, and its various therapeutic and diagnostic utilities, it said.
IPBiz notes some recent US patent applications by Compugen:
US published application 20090317808, titled NOVEL NUCLEOTIDE AND AMINO ACID SEQUENCES AND METHODS OF USE THEREOF FOR DIAGNOSIS to Shirley Sameah-Greenwald, et al.
US published application 20090286957
Initial experimental studies confirmed the existence of the predicted CGEN-671 transcript (mRNA) and demonstrated that, compared with normal tissue samples, it is highly expressed in colon carcinoma tissue. Furthermore, in these mRNA experiments, CGEN-671's expression level in various healthy tissues was up to 200 times lower than the expression level of the previously known cancer target CD55, suggesting that the Compugen discovered splice variant should be a superior drug target candidate for cancer treatment. In addition, the in silico prediction of CGEN-671 identified a unique sequence present in CGEN-671's extracellular domain that is not present in CD55. This sequence allows for the development of antibodies that specifically bind to CGEN-671 and do not recognize CD55.
[COMPUGEN LTD. ; 72 Pinchas Rosen Street 69512 Tel Aviv (IL)]
Last week, the company announced a venture with Pfizer (NYSE:PFE)
**UPDATE. 1 Jan 10. Concerning an infectious cancer in Tasmanian devils, from the New York Times, discussing a paper in the journal Science::
A team of Australian and American scientists has now followed up on Dr. Belov’s study, using more powerful gene-sequencing technology to take a closer look at a larger number of Tasmanian devils. To trace the origin of the tumors, the scientists looked at individual cancer cells, recording which genes were active. They found a set of genes normally active only in a type of nerve cell known as Schwann cells. They argue that a single Schwann cell in a single animal was the progenitor of all the devil facial tumor disease cells.
“The lack of genetic variation suggests that the tumors are young,” said a co-author of the study, Tony Pappenfuss, a bioinformatician at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Australia.
Infectious cancer poses a puzzle for biologists. “It is somehow a new organism,” Dr. Pappenfuss said. “I think of it as a parasite.”
Viruses cause 15 percent of all cancers in humans and are also widespread in animals.
The lead author of the Science paper is Elizabeth P. Murchison of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.
See also story by Thomas H. Maugh II in the Los Angeles Times.
from dbtechno: They noted that the cancer in the sick animals came from cells part of a protective layer that wraps around nerves to protect them.
“It’s a uniquely horrible cancer, and it is critical to know about it at the genetic level,” Professor Jenny Graves said.