More MS news articles for July 2001

Coley Pharmaceutical Group Publishes Discovery of Novel Interferon-Inducing CpG Molecule in European Journal of Immunology

New Class of CpG Molecule Generates More Powerful Human Cellular Immune Responses for Potential Cancer Treatment

Friday July 6  8:29am
Source: PR Newswire

WELLESLEY, Mass., and LANGENFELD, Germany, July 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Coley Pharmaceutical Group announced today that company scientists and collaborators have identified a new class of CpG molecule that induces a specific type of immune cell to produce high levels of interferons. The paper, entitled "Identification of CpG oligonucleotide sequences with high induction of IFN-a/b in plasmacytoid dendritic cells," appeared in the July 2001 issue of the European Journal of Immunology.

The interferons induced by this new class of CpG oligonucleotides are also referred to as Type I interferons. They are approved worldwide for the systemic treatment of certain cancers, and for chronic hepatitis B and C therapy, as well as multiple sclerosis. However, severe side effects associated with the therapeutic doses required for treatment limit their use and the ability of patients to tolerate them.

Dr. Arthur Krieg, Coley's Chief Scientific Officer, an author of the paper and a company founder, said, "Given the severe side effects associated with therapeutic doses of recombinant Interferons, today's findings suggest that this class of specific CpG oligonucleotides' ability to generate a natural release of type I interferons and other immune factors may provide a superior, less toxic mode of therapy in multiple disease indications."

In these preclinical studies, the novel oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN), designated CpG ODN 2216, specifically stimulated plasmacytoid dendritic cells, an important type of immune cell that responds to viral infections by releasing large amounts of Interferons alpha and beta (IFN-a/b). These interferons, in turn, trigger a cascade of antiviral defense mechanisms, including rapid activation of natural killer (NK) cells and the generation of interferon gamma (IFN-g) - producing T cells designated Th1 cells. These mechanisms may provide a patient with increased ability to fight cancer and infectious diseases.

"Because the immune responses enhanced by these new oligos provide an exciting way to stimulate the immune system to attack tumor cells, we plan to bring them into the clinic within the next year," said Robert Bratzler, Ph.D., Coley's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Coley's ability to design oligonucleotides with highly specific immune cell targets and that are also relatively nontoxic expands our product base of novel therapeutics."

Coley scientists have previously described CpG oligonucleotides that activate other types of immune cells, especially human B cells and dendritic cells. ProMune (TM) oligonucleotide, Coley's lead drug candidate, is an oligonucleotide that stimulates a wide array of immune responses, and is under development for cancer treatment. ProMune is currently in nine Phase I and Phase I/II clinical trials, including trials for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, breast cancer, melanoma and basal cell carcinoma.

The paper's authors include A. Krug, S. Rothenfusser, V. Hornung, B. Jahrsdorfer, S. Endres and G. Hartmann from the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Clinical Pharmacology at the Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, Dr. Zuhair Ballas of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, as well as Dr. Krieg from Coley Pharmaceutical Group. Part of this work was supported by a grant from the German government and Coley Pharmaceutical GmbH (BMB 03-12235-6).

About Coley Pharmaceutical Group

Coley Pharmaceutical Group is discovering, developing, and commercializing a new class of drugs with broad applications in cancer, asthma/allergy, and infectious disease. These proprietary products, based on CpG molecules activate the human immune system to fight disease. Coley currently has nine Phase I and Phase II clinical trials ongoing, and has established a novel Human Cell Screening discovery platform for the rapid validation of new product candidates. Coley's patent portfolio includes 43 U.S. patent applications and their foreign counterparts, and 7 issued U.S. patents. Coley is a private company with headquarters in the United States, and research and development operations in Germany and Canada. For further information, please visit

     Patricia F. Dimond, Ph.D.
     VP, Corporate Communications
     Strategic Development
     Coley Pharmaceutical Group

     Sharon Karlsberg or Wendy Soutsos
     Ogilvy PR Worldwide (U.S.)

     Michael Sinclair or Fay Weston
     Burns McClellan (Europe)

Source: Coley Pharmaceutical Group
Contact: Patricia F. Dimond, Ph.D., VP, Corporate Communications, Strategic Development of Coley Pharmaceutical Group, 781-718-3616,; or Sharon Karlsberg,, or Wendy Soutsos of Ogilvy PR Worldwide (U.S.), 617-577-0006; or Michael Sinclair or Fay Weston of Burns McClellan (Europe),