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Xerecept increases tumour inhibition activity of Avastin

Celtic Pharmaceutical Holdings says several preclinical studies demonstrate statistically significant tumour regression and prolongation of survival following treatment with Xerecept in combination with Avastin, compared to Avastin alone.

The animal studies were conducted at Duke University and the Piedmont Research Centre using solid human tumours including breast and colon xenografts as well as both paediatric and adult human brain tumour xenografts. 

In the human breast model both Avastin and Xerecept by themselves produced similar anti-tumour effects, however, when Avastin was combined with Xerecept, anti-tumour effect was significantly increased.

The enhanced combination effect was statistically different than either result associated with the monotherapies. 

In the human colon xenograft model, Xerecept was not active alone against this tumour model, while Avastin produced a significant tumour growth delay compared to the vehicle-treated control. 

However, the combination therapy of Avastin plus Xerecept significantly increased the overall survival of animals when compared to treatment with vehicle or bevacizumab alone. 
 
“We have been seeing anecdotal observations from the Phase III trials of Xerecept in brain tumour patients that this molecule may be doing more for some of these patients than just controlling edema. Interestingly, we have 13 brain tumour patients still on daily Xerecept treatment from the 501 Phase III open label study, with an average of 38 months (range 25 to 53 months) on drug to date,” says Stephen Evans-Freke, managing general partner of Celtic Pharma. “These new preclinical findings of synergistic activity of Xerecept in combination with Avastin in major tumour types may indicate a broader role for this molecule than has been understood up to now.”
 
Xerecept is an investigational new drug under development as a steroid-sparing alternative to dexamethasone for patients with primary and metastatic brain tumours. Dexamethasone is currently the standard treatment for peritumoral brain edema, but is associated with debilitating side effects including diabetes mellitus, hypertension, muscle weakness, bone loss, impaired wound healing and opportunistic infections. 
 
Celtic Pharma is a private equity investment firm focused on the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries.

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