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Studies Show Mild Hyperthermia Enhances Antitumor Effects of Alfacell's ONCONASE(R)

From PRNewswire March 22, 2007

Alfacell Corporation today reported that in vitro studies show mild hyperthermia enhances the therapeutic effects of ONCONASE (ranpirnase), the company's lead investigational drug candidate.

In a paper entitled, "Mild hyperthermia predisposes tumor cells to undergo apoptosis upon treatment with ONCONASE," published in the International Journal of Oncology (April 2007), the studies conducted by Zbigniew Darzynkiewicz, M.D., Ph.D., and collaborators demonstrated apoptosis, or programmed cell death, increased up to 200 percent when ONCONASE was applied to lymphoblastoid TK6 cells at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) compared to treatment at 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit). In these experiments, apoptosis was manifested by classical changes in cell morphology and the activation of caspase-3, both considered hallmarks of the apoptotic mode of cell death.

"This is very encouraging data that support our work in investigating multiple therapeutic options for the ONCONASE franchise," said Kuslima Shogen, Alfacell's chairman and chief executive officer. "These studies indicate that we may be able to increase the drug's effectiveness in combination with mild hyperthermia. This opens up new possibilities in creating treatment regimens for various indications."

Whole body hyperthermia at 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) is considered to be a safe therapy that does not lead to any serious or sustained organ dysfunction, and is used in the treatment of cancer, either alone or in combination with chemotherapy or radiotherapy.