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Epistem Presents Further Data Supporting its Plucked Hair Biomarker Technology

Epistem Presents Further Data Supporting its Plucked Hair Biomarker Technology

Epistem Presents Further Data Supporting its Plucked Hair Biomarker Technology

Epistem Presents Further Data Supporting its Plucked Hair Biomarker Technology

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Epistem plc has presented preclinical results from its recently completed plucked hair biomarker study at the Institute of Cancer Research Centenary Conference, in Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, London, UK on 8th to 10th June 2009.

This study was completed successfully on gemcitabine, commonly known as Gemzar®. This therapeutic agent is one of a class of antimetabolite chemotherapy drugs designed to target cells that are dividing rapidly, including cancer cells, and is used to treat lung, pancreatic, ovarian, bladder and metastatic breast cancer.

The data presented by Dr. Ged Brady in poster p196 that were on display on 9-10th June 2009 and demonstrated that specific drug-induced changes are caused by this therapeutic agent. These can be monitored through the changes observed in gene expression in the epithelial tissue that is associated with a plucked hair. The Company has already presented data on the ability of its plucked hair biomarker technology to monitor the effects of another widely used chemotherapeutic agent, Erlotinib, which belongs to a completely different class of drug called epidermal growth factor inhibitors.

This positive new data confirms the utility of the plucked hair biomarker technology and its ability to monitor drug induced changes in epithelial tissue caused by different chemotherapeutic agents. The plucked hair biomarker platform provides a simple, minimally invasive means of monitoring the specific response of epithelial tissue to established oncology agents. This supports strongly the case for plucked hair as a valuable surrogate tissue in identifying, early on, the best lead candidates to take into clinical development for a variety of therapeutic agents in oncology.

Furthermore, the plucked hair biomarker platform is now showing the potential to predict quantitatively the differential effects of new compounds in development versus both Gemcitabine and Erlotinib, as well as for other drugs in development which affect the growth of epithelial tissue in the clinical setting.

“Momentum continues to build as our plucked hair biomarker technology is used increasingly to identify pharmacodynamic markers in Phase I clinical studies. These results provide a strong basis to confirm the preclinical relevance of hair as surrogate tissue to measure target engagement and biological response to drug, that can then readily translate into early clinical studies,” said Lydia Meyer- Turkson, Director of the Biomarker Division at Epistem. “We are pleased that the data demonstrates the relevance of plucked hair as a pharmaco dynamic biomarker for a cytotoxic known to affect the cell cycle and apoptosis” she added.