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Cysteine-Rich Protein Prevents Weight Loss in Lung Cancer Patients: A Promising Intervention Study

MONTREAL, Jan. 17 /CNW Telbec/ - Immunotec Inc. (TSX-V: IMM) announced

today the successful completion of a multi-center randomized, double-blind

clinical trial on cancer-related weight loss (cachexia) in lung cancer

patients which was performed in collaboration with various Canadian clinical

centers(*). The research concluded that patients treated with IMN 1207 showed

significant increases in body weight (Tozer et al. Antioxidants & Redox

Signaling (2008) 10:395-402). Immunotec also announced the initiation of a

follow-up study to confirm the positive results.

The massive loss of body weight and muscle mass in advanced cancer

patients is typically associated with psychological stress, financial burden

and a decreased quality of life. Until now there have been no dietary

interventions known to satisfactorily prevent this process.

Immunotec's new study included 66 patients with advanced lung cancer

receiving state of the art chemotherapy or radiotherapy. The patients had

already suffered significant involuntary weight-loss prior to treatment.

During a six month treatment period the patients were given either casein, a

protein supplement low in cysteine which is widely used in clinical nutrition

("placebo") or IMN 1207, a specially-prepared glutathione enhancing

cysteine-rich whey protein isolate supplied by Immunotec Inc. The results

showed that patients in the placebo group continued to lose weight whereas

patients treated with IMN 1207 showed a significant increase in body weight.

Incidentally, these patients also showed an increase in strength and quality

of life parameters. This study showed for the first time that cancer-related

weight loss (cachexia) can be prevented by a single source of protein.

Dr. Gerald Batist, Chair, Department of Oncology, McGill University stated

"Having been involved in the early mechanistic studies of the therapeutic use

of whey proteins, I'm pleased to see this particular formulation being tested

in the clinic. The data to date encourage additional and expanded clinical

trials". Dr. Wulf Drvge, Senior Vice-President Research & Development at

Immunotec Inc. emphasized that the results of this first trial should be

viewed with cautious optimism. A second trial has been initiated to confirm

the results.

Among other questions, this clinical trial also addressed the controversy

about antioxidant use in chemotherapy. Since radiotherapy and many types of

chemotherapy work by raising levels of oxidative stress and free radical

formation to destroy cancer cells, oncologists have voiced concern that

treatment of the patient with antioxidants may "protect" the cancer from the

toxic effects of the therapy. If this were the case, antioxidants could even

be expected to shorten the life span of the patients. Immunotec's study now

showed that this was clearly not the case with IMN 1207. Based on his earlier

work at his laboratory at the National Cancer Research Center of Germany

(DKFZ) in Heidelberg, Dr. Drvge was reasonably confident that supplementation

with a critical precursor of the major cellular antioxidant glutathione, would

actually improve the condition of the patients, most probably by ameliorating

adverse effects of these therapies on the patients' healthy tissues. The

results of this new study suggest that this is true. The antioxidant

glutathione is distinct from other antioxidants including the popular

antioxidant vitamins A, C, and E which are widely used as nutritional

supplements. Glutathione is involved in the removal of reactive oxygen species

and other potential toxic compounds through special biochemical processes and

can reach relatively high and beneficial concentrations in cells and tissues

depending on the availability of its biosynthetic precursor cysteine.

About IMN 1207

IMN 1207 is a cysteine-rich protein. It is the research formulation of

the undenatured whey protein Immunocal®/HMS 90®, a dietary natural health

supplement, developed and marketed worldwide by Immunotec during the past

12 years. Immunocal®/HMS 90 is a precursor of the major cellular antioxidant

glutathione, an element important in maintaining a strong immune system.

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