ST. MARYS, W.Va.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ProtoKinetix, Incorporated (OTC: PKTX) (the "Company" or "ProtoKinetix") (www.protokinetix.com) is pleased to report on its collaboration with the James Shapiro laboratory at the University of Alberta. The sole intention of the collaboration is to develop a commercial product pipeline of therapeutic applications for the AAGP™ family of molecules.
Professor James Shapiro is Professor of Surgery, Medicine and Surgical Oncology, and Director of the Clinical Islet Transplant Program and the Living Donor Liver Transplant Program at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. He has a busy hepatobiliary surgical practice in HPB oncology, and in liver and kidney-pancreas transplant surgery. His center carries out 80 liver transplants per year, and has done around 80 living donor liver transplants. The University of Alberta just celebrated their 1000th liver transplant.
Dr. Shapiro directs the largest clinical islet transplant program worldwide with almost 170 patients treated, and led the clinical team that developed the "Edmonton Protocol" - the first trial to achieve consistent 100% insulin independence in a series of islet-alone transplant recipients with Type 1 diabetes (published in the NEJM 2000). Before Dr. Shapiro’s trial, the success rate with islet transplantation was less than 8%. He led an international multicenter trial to replicate these findings in 9 international centers (published in NEJM 2006).
Over the last 32 months Dr. Shapiro and his team have been extensively testing the AAGP™ molecule in allogeneic transplants using human islet cells as the model. As regenerative medicine is rapidly becoming adopted in the treatment of degenerative diseases, the protection of the transplanted cells, tissues, and organs is of paramount importance. Transplanted cells and tissues are subjected to extreme stress factors that, unless protected, could cause failure to graft or premature death. The success of the tests conducted in Edmonton have demonstrated that AAGP™ has the potential to be widely adopted in many areas of regenerative medicine.
"I'm very excited about our ongoing collaborations with PKTX and by the remarkable potency of AAGP. This molecule has great potential, and we are just beginning to scratch beneath the surface," said Dr. James Shapiro.
As a result of the tests, Dr. Shapiro and his team are developing further testing based on three primary activities:
1. The ongoing testing and refinement of cellular transplantation using human islet cells as the demonstrated model. In particular, AAGP™ may provide powerful protection against hostile agents that severely inhibit engraftment success. Cell therapies are currently being developed around the world for the treatment of spinal cord injury, damaged heart tissue, stroke, diabetes as well as many other conditions.
2. Human organ preservation. The program will assess the effect of AAGP™ in extending the transplant viability of donor organs. The Canadian National Transplant Research Program is a major national initiative involving the Federal institutes of health, all Provinces and the private sector. http://www.cntrp.ca/. The first testing will be conducted on livers to determine whether AAGP™ can extend the ex-vivo functionality of the organ.
3. Auto immune disease. This class of diseases occur where the body's immune system starts to attack healthy cells. Diseases in this category include, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis and Type 1 diabetes. Using the NOD (Non Obese Diabetic) mice as a model the Edmonton team will be specifically assessing the potentially protective effect of AAGP™ against the antibody attack conducted against the islet cells in the pancreas.
“This impressive team of transplant surgeons and scientists have made clear to us the dramatic scope of applications that our family of molecules possesses,” said Clarence Smith, President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of ProtoKinetix.
About the James Shapiro Laboratory
The James Shapiro Laboratory is active experimental laboratory working on improving long term survival of transplanted islets, and in immunomodulation of transplanted tissues. He is Principal Investigator on several NIH and JDRF-funded clinical trials, including clinical testing of costimulation blockade in islet transplantation.
ProtoKinetix, Inc. is a molecular biotechnology company that has developed and patented a family of hyper stable, potent glycopeptides (AAGP™) that enhance therapeutic results and reduce the cost of stem cell medicine. Due to the anti-inflammatory effect of AAGP™ molecules, the Company is currently targeting the direct treatment of diseases that have a major inflammatory component.
The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 provides a “safe harbor” for forward-looking statements. Some information included in this press release contains statements that are forward-looking. Such forward-looking information involves significant risks and uncertainties that could affect anticipated results in the future and, accordingly, these results may differ materially from those expressed in any forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of the Company. For a description of additional risks and uncertainties, please refer to the Company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.