Baylor-Developed Anti-Cancer Compound To Undergo Pre-Clinical Trials At National Cancer Institute

July 9, 2002
News Photo 432Dr. Kevin G. Pinney, associate professor of chemistry at Baylor.

by Judy Long

OXiGENE Inc., a pharmaceutical firm in Watertown, Mass., has announced that Oxi-6197, an anti-cancer compound developed by Baylor University chemistry professor Kevin Pinney, has been selected for pre-clinical effectiveness and pharmacology studies by the National Cancer Institute.

Pinney invented the compound at Baylor while conducting research supported by OXiGENE. The development of Oxi-6197 is the result of several years of research focusing on an approach called vascular targeting, which changes the structure of cells in the newly formed blood vessels of tumors. Pinney's lab has collaborated on the project with a tumor immunology group led by Professor Klaus Edvardsen at University of Lund, Sweden.

"The selection of Oxi-6197 for pre-clinical evaluation by the NCI's Drug Development Group underscores the cancer-fighting potential of this novel family of vascular targeting compounds," said Frederick Driscoll, president and CEO of OXiGENE. "We have established a leadership position in the clinical development of vascular targeting agents, and we look forward to working with the NCI on the future development of this compound."

"This compound represents a significant development in the area of tumor vascular targeting and underscores the importance of our collaboration with Baylor University," said Dr. Joseph A. Prezioso, associate director of research at OXiGENE.

Oxi-6197 reduces blood flow in newly formed tumor blood vessels, triggering the death of downstream tumor cells. Vascular targeting does not affect the established, stable blood vessels in the body.

"We are excited that Oxi-6197, as well as other compounds developed here at Baylor University, are demonstrating promising pre-clinical efficacy as vascular targeting agents," Pinney said. "We ultimately hope that new compounds such as Oxi-6197 will help to extend and save the lives of cancer patients. I am grateful to my dedicated research team, as well as Baylor University, OXiGENE Inc. and our group of excellent collaborators worldwide."

A Baylor faculty member since 1993, Pinney serves as associate professor of chemistry and is co-founder of Baylor's Center for Drug Discovery (CDD), an interdisciplinary research collaboration that supports development of compounds that will benefit humankind. Pinney received his doctorate at University of Illinois.

Dr. Truell W. Hyde, vice provost for research at Baylor, lauded Pinney and the CDD for "being at the cutting edge" of this research.

"Vascular targeting is rapidly gaining recognition as a leading new technology for drug development in the fight against cancer and other diseases," Hyde said. "We're very excited that Oxi-6197 has been selected by the National Cancer Institute for pre-clinical and pharmacology studies and we're justifiably proud of Kevin and the Center for Drug Discovery. This action places Kevin's lab, through Baylor's research collaboration between the CDD and OXiGENE, as one of the world's leaders in vascular targeting technology."

The NCI is a component of the National Institutes of Health, one of eight agencies that comprise the Public Health Service, and is "dedicated to reducing the burden of cancer for all our nation's citizens and people around the world," said Richard Klausner, NCI director.

For more information, contact Pinney at (254) 710-4117.

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