Lorus Therapeutics announces the initiation of a clinical trial of GTI-2040 in acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome



    - Clinical Study builds on corporate decision to focus on leukemia
    indications for GTI-2040 -

    TORONTO, June 19 /CNW/ - Lorus Therapeutics Inc. ("Lorus") (TSX: LOR;
AMEX:   LRP), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the research and
development of pharmaceutical products and technologies for the management of
cancer, today announced that enrolment is underway in a new clinical trial in
patients with acute leukemia and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS).
    The clinical study is designed to evaluate the safety and activity of
GTI-2040 as a single agent for acute leukemia and MDS using a novel treatment
schedule. The effect on leukemic blasts and blood count recovery will be
assessed as part of a detailed investigation of the pharmacodynamic and
pharmacokinetic effects, dose-response relationships and tolerability of
GTI-2040 during multiple courses of treatment.
    Dr. Mark Kirschbaum, Director of New Drug Development at the City of Hope
National Cancer Center in Duarte California is conducting the study, which is
sponsored by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Cancer Therapy Evaluation
Program (CTEP) under a Clinical Trials Agreement with Lorus. Additional
investigators participating in the study are Dr. Yun Yen also at City of Hope
National Cancer Center, Dr. Joseph Tuscano at the University of California
Davis Cancer Center, and Dr. Kenneth Foon at the University of Pittsburgh
Cancer Institute (UPCI).
    The majority of MDS patients progress rapidly with mean survival rates of
approximately six months to a year for the severe form of the disease. High
grade MDS may also progress to an acute leukemia with even worse prognosis,
and this continuum is reflected in the present study design. These patients
are typically elderly and unable to sustain intensification of their prior
first line therapy. More tolerable efficacious therapies are therefore needed.
    "Since overall response rates (complete or partial responses) in MDS are
typically only 16-20%, there is a continuing large unmet need for better
treatments." commented Dr. Aiping Young, Lorus' President & CEO. "GTI-2040 has
shown very encouraging clinical results so far, and we anticipate that it will
also be an effective treatment for MDS."
    This study complements the ongoing development program with GTI-2040
combined with high dose cytarabine in younger patients with acute myeloid
leukemia (AML) in which complete responses to the combination were found to
correlate with downregulation of R2, the cellular target of GTI-2040.

    About GTI-2040

    GTI-2040 is an antisense drug that specifically targets the R2 component
of ribonucleotide reductase, which is required for DNA synthesis and cell
proliferation. Through downregulation of R2, GTI-2040 has demonstrated strong
antitumor and antimetastatic activity in a variety of tumor types in both in
vivo and in vitro models and is under study in a multiple Phase I/II clinical
program. R2 has been described as a malignant determinant that is elevated in
a wide range of tumors, which can cooperate with a variety of cellular cancer
causing genes known as oncogenes to enhance tumor growth and metastatic
potential.

    About Lorus

    Lorus is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the research and
development of novel therapeutics in cancer. Lorus' goal is to capitalize on
its research, preclinical, clinical and regulatory expertise by developing new
drug candidates that can be used, either alone, or in combination with other
drugs, to successfully manage cancer. Through its own discovery efforts and an
acquisition and in-licensing program, Lorus is building a portfolio of
promising anticancer drugs. Lorus has completed one Phase II and one Phase III
clinical trial. Lorus Therapeutics Inc. is listed on the Toronto Stock
Exchange under the symbol LOR, and on the American Stock Exchange under the
symbol LRP.

    Forward Looking Statements

    This press release may contain forward-looking statements within the
meaning of Canadian and U.S. securities laws. Such statements include, but are
not limited to, statements relating to: our research program plans, our plans
to conduct clinical trials, the successful and timely completion of clinical
studies and the regulatory approval process, our ability to fund future
research, our plans to obtain partners to assist in the further development of
our product candidates, the establishment of corporate alliances, the
Company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and other statements
including words such as "continue", "believe", "plan", "expect", "intend",
"will", "should", "may", and other similar expressions. Such statements
reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to
risks and uncertainties and are necessarily based upon a number of estimates
and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by us are inherently subject
to significant business, economic, competitive, political and social
uncertainties and contingencies. Many factors could cause our actual results,
performance or achievements to be materially different from any future
results, performance, or achievements that may be expressed or implied by such
forward-looking statements, including, among others: our ability to obtain the
capital required for research and operations, the inherent risks in early
stage drug development including demonstrating efficacy, development time/cost
and the regulatory approval process; the progress of our clinical trials; our
ability to find and enter into agreements with potential partners; our ability
to attract and retain key personnel; changing market conditions; and other
risks detailed from time-to-time in our ongoing quarterly filings, annual
information forms, annual reports and annual filings with Canadian securities
regulators and the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.
    Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should
the assumptions set out in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in our Annual
Information Form underlying those forward-looking statements prove incorrect,
actual results may vary materially from those described herein. These
forward-looking statements are made as of the date of this press release and
we do not intend, and do not assume any obligation, to update these
forward-looking statements, except as required by law. We cannot assure you
that such statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and future
events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.
Investors are cautioned that forward-looking statements are not guarantees of
future performance and accordingly investors are cautioned not to put undue
reliance on forward-looking statements due to the inherent uncertainty
therein.

    Lorus Therapeutics Inc.'s recent press releases are available through the
Company's website at www.lorusthera.com.





For further information:

For further information: Lorus Therapeutics Inc., Dr. Saeid Babaei,
(416) 798-1200 ext. 490, ir@lorusthera.com

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