Phase I/II trial on tkm-plk1 in patients with hepatocellular carcinoma

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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corporation (TKMR) begins a Phase I/II open-label, multi-center clinical trial to determine the safety, tolerability and clinical benefit of TKM-PLK1 Phase I/II in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The study will be conducted at sites in North America and Asia. Tekmira is also conducting a separate Phase I/II clinical trial evaluating TKM-PLK1 in patients with Gastrointestinal Neuroendocrine Tumors (GI-NET) or Adrenocortical Carcinoma (ACC). HCC is one of the most common cancers worldwide and the third most common cause of cancer-related death worldwide. HCC is overwhelmingly related to chronic liver disease, particularly hepatitis B and hepatitis C.Patients with HCC usually are asymptomatic until later stages. TKM-PLK1 targets polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1), a protein involved in tumor cell proliferation and a validated oncology target. Inhibition of PLK1 expression prevents the tumor cell from completing cell division, resulting in cell cycle arrest and death of the cancer cell. PLK1 has been a target of interest for years, and evidence that patients with elevated levels of PLK1 in their tumors exhibit poorer prognosis and survival rates has been documented in the medical literature. By using an RNAi approach and exploiting its naturally occurring mechanism of action, Tekmira can potentially overcome the limitations of other approaches and effectively silence PLK1.

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