Cysteine-Rich Protein Prevents Weight Loss in Lung Cancer Patients: A Promising Intervention Study



    MONTREAL, Jan. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Immunotec Inc. (TSX-V: IMM) announced
today the successful completion of a multi-center randomized, double-blind
clinical trial on cancer-related weight loss (cachexia) in lung cancer
patients which was performed in collaboration with various Canadian clinical
centers(*). The research concluded that patients treated with IMN 1207 showed
significant increases in body weight (Tozer et al. Antioxidants & Redox
Signaling (2008) 10:395-402). Immunotec also announced the initiation of a
follow-up study to confirm the positive results.
    The massive loss of body weight and muscle mass in advanced cancer
patients is typically associated with psychological stress, financial burden
and a decreased quality of life. Until now there have been no dietary
interventions known to satisfactorily prevent this process.
    Immunotec's new study included 66 patients with advanced lung cancer
receiving state of the art chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The patients had
already suffered significant involuntary weight-loss prior to treatment.
During a six month treatment period the patients were given either casein, a
protein supplement low in cysteine which is widely used in clinical nutrition
("placebo") or IMN 1207, a specially-prepared glutathione enhancing
cysteine-rich whey protein isolate supplied by Immunotec Inc. The results
showed that patients in the placebo group continued to lose weight whereas
patients treated with IMN 1207 showed a significant increase in body weight.
Incidentally, these patients also showed an increase in strength and quality
of life parameters. This study showed for the first time that cancer-related
weight loss (cachexia) can be prevented by a single source of protein.
Dr. Gerald Batist, Chair, Department of Oncology, McGill University stated
"Having been involved in the early mechanistic studies of the therapeutic use
of whey proteins, I'm pleased to see this particular formulation being tested
in the clinic. The data to date encourage additional and expanded clinical
trials". Dr. Wulf Drvge, Senior Vice-President Research & Development at
Immunotec Inc. emphasized that the results of this first trial should be
viewed with cautious optimism. A second trial has been initiated to confirm
the results.
    Among other questions, this clinical trial also addressed the controversy
about antioxidant use in chemotherapy. Since radiotherapy and many types of
chemotherapy work by raising levels of oxidative stress and free radical
formation to destroy cancer cells, oncologists have voiced concern that
treatment of the patient with antioxidants may "protect" the cancer from the
toxic effects of the therapy. If this were the case, antioxidants could even
be expected to shorten the life span of the patients. Immunotec's study now
showed that this was clearly not the case with IMN 1207. Based on his earlier
work at his laboratory at the National Cancer Research Center of Germany
(DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Dr. Drvge was reasonably confident that supplementation
with a critical precursor of the major cellular antioxidant glutathione, would
actually improve the condition of the patients, most probably by ameliorating
adverse effects of these therapies on the patients' healthy tissues. The
results of this new study suggest that this is true. The antioxidant
glutathione is distinct from other antioxidants including the popular
antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E which are widely used as nutritional
supplements. Glutathione is involved in the removal of reactive oxygen species
and other potential toxic compounds through special biochemical processes and
can reach relatively high and beneficial concentrations in cells and tissues
depending on the availability of its biosynthetic precursor cysteine.

    About IMN 1207

    IMN 1207 is a cysteine-rich protein. It is the research formulation of
the undenatured whey protein Immunocal(R)/HMS 90(R), a dietary natural health
supplement, developed and marketed worldwide by Immunotec during the past
12 years. Immunocal(R)/HMS 90 is a precursor of the major cellular antioxidant
glutathione, an element important in maintaining a strong immune system.

    About Immunotec Inc.

    Immunotec is engaged primarily in the development and marketing of
natural health products, dietary supplements, food, vitamins and personal care
products, many of which are manufactured on its behalf by third parties.
Immunotec's products are distributed and sold in Canada and the United States
through a network marketing system and in other countries through exclusive
distributorship agreements. Immunotec's investment in this study is another
manifestation of its ongoing commitment to research and development.
www.immunotec.com.

    
    - (*) Montreal General Hospital (McGill University teaching hospital)
          Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    - (*) Cross Cancer Institute, Alberta Cancer Board (University of Alberta
          affiliate) Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
    - (*) Jewish General Hospital (McGill University teaching hospital)
          Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    - (*) Juravinski Cancer Centre (McMaster University and Hamilton Health
          Sciences affiliate) Hamilton, Ontario,Canada.
    - (*) Allan Blair Cancer Centre (a division of Saskatchewan Cancer
          Foundation) Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada.
    
    %SEDAR: 00011993EF




For further information:

For further information: John H. Molson, Vice-President, Research &
Development, Immunotec Inc., (450) 510-4450, Fax: (450) 424-9993,
jmolson@immunotec.com; Clare Malbon, R&D Dept., (450) 424-9992 Ext 2377

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