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From Asia Pulse

Australia's Solbec Shares Soar After Cancer Drug Find

SYDNEY, Nov 23 Asia Pulse - Shares in Solbec Pharmaceuticals Ltd (ASX:SBP) jumped a massive 68 per cent today after the biotech said a new drug had proven effective in treating asbestos related cancer.

Solbec shares rose 8.5 cents to 21 cents on a volume of 24.9 million shares.

The company said its drug Coramsine had been effective in treating and preventing mesothelioma in a mouse model of the cancer.

More importantly, however, if used in combination with the immune triggering compound CpG, Coramsine resulted in the total remission of the cancer.

The combined therapy not only killed cancer cells but also boosted the response of the immune system to cancerous tumours.

"If this finding is replicated in patients with mesothelioma or other cancers, we believe that Coramsine could play an important role in clinical management of malignancy," Solbec's Professor John Papadimitriou said.

The research, conducted by scientists at the University of Western Australia's Tumour Immunology Group, formed part of a program funded by Solbec with support from the federal government's Biotechnology Innovation Fund.

Solbec managing director Stephen Carter said Coramsine triggered a boost to the immune system.

"The results go a long way toward confirming that Coramsine causes an immune response to cancer. The proof will come by trialling combination therapy in humans," he said.

Mesothelioma is typically associated with exposure to asbestos, which has been documented in as many as 70 to 80 per cent of all cases of the cancer.

The cancer arises from cancerous cells lining the patient's body cavities such as the chest, abdominal region or the tissue surrounding the heart.

Solbec's business strategy is to partner or out-license Coramsine for the final stages of pre-commercial development and marketing.

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