TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2012 /CNW/ - Trillium Therapeutics Inc. (TTI), a
biopharmaceutical company developing innovative and proprietary
immune-based biologics, today announced that preliminary results from
its preclinical anti-CD47 oncology program have been published in the
prestigious Journal of Experimental Medicine (Theocharides et al., published online Sep 3, 2012) The work was conducted in the
laboratories of Trillium collaborators Drs. Jean Wang and John Dick at
University Health Network, and Dr. Jayne Danska at The Hospital for
Sick Children, in Toronto, Ontario.
Trillium's SIRPaFc program targets the activity of CD47, a molecule
upregulated on many leukemias and solid tumours. CD47 binds to SIRPa on
the surface of macrophages, providing a "do not eat" signal that
suppresses phagocytosis, allowing the cancer cells to escape
immune-mediated destruction. The study by Theocharides et al. showed, by elegant genetic experiments, that an absence of SIRPa
signalling allowed mice to clear human leukemia stem cells (LSCs), a
sub-population of tumour cells that are resistant to chemotherapy and
are thought to be responsible for disease relapse. Furthermore, the
authors showed that blocking CD47 with SIRPaFc promotes phagocytosis of
tumour cells in vitro and has strong anti-leukemic effects in a human tumour xenograft model.
"These exciting results provide further evidence that CD47 expressed on
the surface of LSCs plays an important role in suppressing the
anti-cancer immune response, and further validate our approach of using
SIRPaFc to mobilize macrophages to kill LSCs", commented Trillium's
Vice President, R&D, Dr. Bob Uger. "In addition, Trillium's internal
drug development program has advanced substantially in the past 12
months and we are projecting that formal IND-enabling studies with our
clinical development candidate could commence later this year."
Trillium Therapeutics Inc. is a private biopharmaceutical company
specializing in innovative therapies in two main areas: cytoprotection
and immune regulation. The company's most advanced program, TTI-1612,
is a cytoprotective recombinant growth factor that is being developed
for the treatment of interstitial cystitis. The company also has a
long-standing interest in the field of immune regulation, in particular
the negative pathways that malignant cells exploit to suppress
anti-tumour responses. Trillium currently has two preclinical programs,
CD200 mAb and SIRPaFc, that target two key immunoregulatory pathways
that tumour cells exploit to evade the host immune system. The CD200
mAb is a fully human monoclonal antibody that blocks the activity of
CD200, an immunosuppressive molecule that is overexpressed by many
hematopoietic and solid tumours. SIRPaFc is a fusion protein that
blocks the activity of CD47, a molecule that is upregulated on cancer
stem cells in AML and other tumours. Trillium has a broad network of
external academic and industry R&D collaborations, and is supported by
three premier Canadian venture capital investors: Covington Capital,
Growthworks and BDC Capital.
SOURCE: Trillium Therapeutics Inc.
For further information:
Niclas Stiernholm, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Trillium Therapeutics Inc.
96 Skyway Avenue
Toronto, Ontario, M9W 4Y9
Tel: (416) 595-0627
Fax: (416) 595-5835