QUÉBEC CITY, May 31, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Aeterna Zentaris Inc. (NASDAQ:
AEZS) (TSX: AEZ) (the "Company") today announced that an article
published in the May 2012 issue of Plos One, outlines a novel mechanism
of action of the Company's oral anti-cancer compound, perifosine, which
could provide a rationale for a novel approach to the treatment of
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MMe), an aggressive type of cancer
associated with exposure to asbestos. The article titled, "Perifosine as a Potential Novel Anti-Cancer Agent Inhibits EGFR/MET-AKT
Axis in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma", G. Pinton, A. Gabriella Manente, G. Angeli, L. Mutti, L. Moro, is
available at www.plosone.org. Plos One is an international, peer reviewed on-line publication.
Perifosine's activity was tested on human mesothelial cells and
different mesothelioma cell lines, in order to provide evidence of its
efficacy as single agent and combined therapy.
Data demonstrated that perifosine caused a dose-dependent reduction of
Akt activation, at concentrations causing MMe cell growth arrest.
Moreover, data described a novel mechanism of perifosine that
interferes, upstream of Akt, affecting EGFR and MET phosphorylation.
Finally, data demonstrated a significant increase in cell toxicity when
MMe cells were treated with perifosine in combination with cisplatin.
This study provides a novel mechanism of action of perifosine, directly
inhibiting EGFR/MET-Akt1/3 axis, providing a rationale for a novel
translational approach to the treatment of MMe.
About Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma (MMe)
Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma is a rapidly lethal cancer associated
with exposure to asbestos that is increasing in incidence worldwide.
Since MMe is resistant to conventional therapies, the prognosis of
these patients is poor, with a median survival of 11-12 months after
diagnosis, therefore, there is an urgent need for effective therapy.
Perifosine is a novel, oral anticancer compound that inhibits Akt
activation in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. It works by
interfering with membranes of cancer cells, thereby inhibiting Akt
signaling which then affects cell death, growth, differentiation and
survival. Perifosine is currently in a Phase 3 trial in multiple
myeloma. In this indication, it has been granted Orphan Drug and Fast
Track designations by the Food and Drug Administration. It has also
received positive Scientific Advice and Orphan Medicinal Product
designation from the European Medicines Agency. Rights for perifosine
have been out licensed to Yakult Honsha Co. Ltd. for Japan, to Handok
Pharmaceuticals Co. Ltd. for Korea and to Hikma Pharmaceuticals PLC for
the Middle East and certain countries in North Africa. Aeterna Zentaris
holds rights for the rest of the world.
About Aeterna Zentaris
Aeterna Zentaris is an oncology and endocrinology drug development
company currently investigating treatments for various unmet medical
needs. The Company's pipeline encompasses compounds at all stages of
development, from drug discovery through to marketed products. For more
information please visit www.aezsinc.com.
SOURCE AETERNA ZENTARIS INC.