More MS news articles for February 2001

Newly Formed Sedecim Therapeutics Developing Immunotherapies Based on IL-16

Wednesday January 31  7:10am
Source: BusinessWire

CONCORD, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 31, 2001--Boston venture development company RCT BioVentures NE and Boston University have formed Sedecim Therapeutics to develop Interleukin-16 (IL-16) as therapies for a variety of pathological immune responses.

Interleukins are one of several groups of cytokines, proteins secreted by certain white blood cells that regulate inflammatory and immune responses. Although each cytokine has a specific function, cytokines often act together, in tandem or in conflict with each other in an immune response.

The partners' investments will initially support preclinical testing of IL-16 and IL-16 peptides as treatments for HIV and asthma. In addition to its financial support, RCT BioVentures NE also will manage the company's development program.

Sedecim is founded on the work of BU researchers David M. Center, M.D., William W. Cruikshank, Ph.D. and Hardy Kornfeld, M.D. In 1982, they first described IL-16, then known as Lymphocyte Chemoattractant Factor, as a T cell-specific chemoattractant factor. They showed that along with its chemoattractant activity, IL-16 stimulates growth of human CD4+ T cells, the cells in the immune system infected by HIV.

Since then, the BU group and others have generated significant data about the role of IL-16 and its potential as a therapeutic.

IL-16-based products could address several multibillion-dollar annual markets. IL-16 may help restore the immune system of AIDS patients and repress the virus. Research shows HIV-infected patients have consistent or increased blood serum levels of IL-16 during the asymptomatic phase that drop significantly as the disease progresses.

An IL-16 therapy given alone or in combination with other anti-AIDS drugs may increase immune-competent cells. Cancer researchers are looking at the possibility of using IL-16 concurrently with approved cancer immunotherapies, such as Interleukin-2, to amplify the immune response and reduce side effects.

Also, peptide fragments of IL-16 have significantly reduced airway hyperresponsiveness in animal models of asthma.

Inhibitors of IL-16 may be useful against diseases where IL-16 may be involved such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis. IL-16 is also implicated in Grave's disease, tuberculosis, diabetes, organ rejection and leukemia.

Research Corporation Technologies in Tucson, Ariz., which formed RCT BioVentures NE in 1999, holds worldwide patent rights for IL-16 that it licensed exclusively to Sedecim Therapeutics in the field of human therapeutics.

Protected products based on IL-16 include an anti-IL-16 antibody to treat autoimmune diseases, an inhaled IL-16 peptide to treat asthma, an injectable form of recombinant IL-16 protein for HIV and cancer, and IL-16 gene therapy.

Contact: RCT BioVentures NE
  Debra Peattie, 978/371-7100
  Fax: 978/371-2371
  Research Corporation Technologies, Tucson
  Christopher P. Martin, 520/748-4465
  Fax: 520/748-0025
  Boston University
  Ashley J. Stevens, 617/353-4550
  Fax: 617/353-6141
  Colin Riley, 617/353-5386 (Public Relations)
  Fax: 617/353-4048