GenSpera Announces Melanie Thomas, MD, MS, Will Serve Company As Medical Adviser
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, October 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/
GenSpera, Inc. (OTCQB: GNSZ), a leader in developing prodrug therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, today announced that Melanie Thomas, MD, MS, a recognized worldwide leader in the field of liver cancer, will join the company as Medical Adviser.
Dr. Thomas most recently held the Grace E. DeWolff Chair in Gastrointestinal Oncology at the Medical University of South Carolina and served as Associate Director of Clinical Investigations. As Associate Director, Dr. Thomas had primary responsibility to oversee all clinical research infrastructure at Hollings Cancer Center. Dr. Thomas has served as Principal Investigator on twenty-nine separate clinical trials, primarily in gastrointestinal cancers as well as held previous appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
“Primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma) is a very challenging disease in which to develop new, novel therapeutic agents that are both effective and safe for patients,” said Dr. Thomas. “Hepatocellular carcinoma is a highly chemotherapy-resistant tumor, and most patients have underlying liver damage that limits their eligibility for clinical trials. As the third most common cancer worldwide, hepatocellular carcinoma remains a significant unmet medical need. The early data for mipsagargin safety and efficacy in liver cancer are impressive, and I am excited to be part of the team that is developing this novel agent for liver cancer patients.”
“We have always actively sought the best medical and scientific counsel in our ongoing mission to deliver innovative therapies to cancer patients,” said Craig Dionne, PhD, GenSpera’s CEO. “Dr. Thomas is a highly respected physician who brings a wealth of clinical experience to our team. We are delighted and honored that she has chosen to focus her efforts on the clinical development of mipsagargin.”
GenSpera’s technology platform combines a powerful, plant-derived cytotoxin (thapsigargin) with a prodrug delivery system that provides for the targeted release of drug candidates within a tumor. Unlike typical chemotherapeutic agents, thapsigargin results in cell death irrespective of the rate of cell division, which may provide an effective approach to kill both fast- and slow-growing cancers. GenSpera’s lead drug candidate, mipsagargin, is activated by the enzyme PSMA, which is found at high levels in the vasculature of liver and glioblastoma cancers and in the vasculature of almost all other solid tumors. Mipsagargin is expected to have potential efficacy in a wide variety of tumor types.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted Orphan Drug designation in 2013 for the evaluation of mipsagargin in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma. Mipsagargin Phase II clinical trials are underway in both hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and glioblastoma patients (brain cancer)
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