Tuesday June 11, 08:38 PM
BRISBANE, June 11 Asia Pulse - Brisbane-based biotechnology company CBio Ltd will start human trials of a drug treatment for auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis early next year.
The trials will involve a naturally-occurring hormone called Early Pregnancy Factor (EPF).
The news follows an announcement by the company of the successful manufacture of a high quality synthetic form of EPF in commercial quantities.
Queensland Premier Peter Beattie and CBio chief operating officer Stephen Goodall jointly announced the trials at a biotechnology conference in Toronto, Canada, today.
"The successful initial production of EPF was a milestone in the development of the drug which is moving towards commercialisation after almost 30 years of research by Queensland scientists," Mr Goodall said.
The Brisbane breakthrough was the first time a synthetic version of EPF had been successfully produced.
Mr Beattie said: "CBio might not have solved the mystery of what causes multiple sclerosis but it has scored a major breakthrough in the mystery of how to treat it successfully."
EPF's discovery in the 1970s led to research into the reason why women suffering from autoimmune diseases often went into remission during the early stages of pregnancy.
Researchers believe EPF can be used to treat an over-reaction in the body's autoimmune system which leads to conditions such as MS and rheumatoid arthritis.
EPF also has potential to be used in organ transplants, cancer treatment and for healing burns and ulcers, or assisting with skin grants.
The hormone is produced soon after fertilisation of a human egg, but is also present in white blood cells of men and non-pregnant women, and is believed to be produced by cancer cells to allow them to multiply.
CBio has worldwide patents for EPF.
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