Tunicates Against Tumors
Madrid - The Spanish biopharmacy company PharmaMar announced in March that Aplidin®, a novel marine anti-tumor agent, has entered phase I clinical trials for paediatric solid tumours and haematological malignancies. It showed a 3 to 10 times more selective activity towards leukaemia and lymphoma cells than towards normal haemopoietic cells in pre-clinical studies.
Aplidin is a cyclodepsipeptide derived from the marine tunicate Aplidium albicans. It is a multifactorial apoptosis inducer agent, characterized by a low haema-tological toxicity and a high specificity towards tumor cells. Aplidin is currently in phase II trials for melanoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, colorectal, renal, lung (NSCLC and SCLC), head and neck pancreatic carcinomas. Further phase II trials in other solid and haematological tumors are planned for 2004.