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May 7, 2007

SRI International Reacquires Anticancer Candidate Tirapazamine

  • SRI International has regained from sanofi-aventis all rights to tirapazamine, a cancer drug that reached Phase III trials. The drug is a bioreductively activated, hypoxia-selective small molecule that acts primarily in hypoxic regions of tumors, wherein tirapazamine radicals cause double-stranded DNA breaks. Additive cell killing through this mechanism would be predicted in combination with other chemotherapeutics and antitumor regimens, including radiotherapy.

    Tirapazamine was originally identified as an anticancer agent by SRI and Stanford University researchers investigating oxygen deficiency in solid tumors.

    "Tirapazamine has been shown to be highly effective in experimental models, and we are interested in finding the right partner to continue clinical development of the drug," says Edward Spack, Ph.D., senior director of business development, SRI biosciences division. "To date it has been studied in patients with head and neck, non-small-cell-lung, ovarian, and other cancers, with mixed results. Clinical studies are continuing, including government and investigator-sponsored trials."

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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