Hybrigenics’ specific inhibitor of Ubiquitin-Specific Protease 7 (USP7) is cytotoxic for chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) cells in vitro

Hybrigenics (ALHYG), a bio-pharmaceutical company listed on Alternext (NYSE-Euronext) in Paris, with a focus on research and development of new treatments against proliferative diseases, today announces the presentation by Professor Tatjana Stankovic, from the University of Birmingham (UK) School of Cancer Sciences, of the link between Ubiquitin-Specific Protease 7 (USP7) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL).

Her research team will also report the ability of HBX 19,818, a specific USP7 inhibitor discovered by Hybrigenics, to exert cytotoxic effects in vitro on CLL cells. Results will be presented by Professor Stankovic at the 14th International Workshop on CLL, which is held on October 28-30, 2011 in Houston, Texas.

On a panel of 25 primary CLL tumours, USP7 was found to be over-expressed in all tumour cells when compared against the expression levels in control non-tumour peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). CLL cells from 18 patients were successfully grown in primary cultures and treated in vitro with HBX 19,818. Four immortalized CLL cell lines were also subjected to HBX 19,818 treatment in vitro. Hybrigenics’ specific inhibitor of USP7 significantly decreased the cell number of all CLL primary cultures or cell lines at concentrations which did not significantly alter the viability of control non-tumour PBMC.  

“Professor Stankovic’s results are encouraging. They suggest the involvement of USP7 in the control of white blood cell proliferation. This first indication that our specific USP7 inhibitor might play a therapeutic role is promising and deserves confirmation on a larger scale,” said Frédéric Colland, head of research at Hybrigenics.  

About Chronic Lymphocytic Leukaemia (CLL)

CLL is the most frequent form of leukaemia (cancerous proliferative disease of circulating blood cells). According to the United States’ National Cancer Institute, 1 in every 210 men and women will be diagnosed with CLL during their lifetime.

People with CLL make too many lymphocytes (monocluear white blood cells) which aren’t fully developed (immature) and don’t work properly. Over time, these abnormal lymphocytes in excess build up in the lymphatic system and cause large, swollen lymph nodes. They may also fill the bone marrow, reducing the number of normal white cells, red cells and platelets that can be made, thereby lowering their blood counts. Although most CLL patients are able to enjoy a good quality of life for many years, with little or no treatment, CLL is not a condition that can usually be cured.

About Hybrigenics

Hybrigenics (http://www.hybrigenics.com) is a bio-pharmaceutical company listed (ALHYG) on Alternext (NYSE-Euronext) in Paris, focusing its internal R&D programs on innovative targets and therapies for the treatment of proliferative cancerous or non-cancerous diseases.

Hybrigenics’ current development program is based on inecalcitol, a vitamin D receptor agonist, for the first-line treatment of metastastic castrate-resistant prostate cancer in combination with Taxotere(R), which is the current gold-standard chemotherapeutic treatment for this indication. Inecalcitol is also being developed to treat moderate-to-severe psoriasis by oral administration.

Hybrigenics has a research collaboration with Servier on deubiquitinating enzymes and their inhibitors in oncology, neurology, psychiatry, rheumatology, ophthalmology, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Hybrigenics continues to build on its pioneer research position in the field of ubiquitin-specific proteases by exploring their role in other areas of particular relevance, such as inflammation and virology.

Hybrigenics Services SAS, a fully-owned subsidiary, is the market leader in Yeast Two-Hybrid (Y2H) and related services to identify, validate and inhibit protein interactions for researchers in all areas of life sciences, using its ISO 9001-certified high-throughput Y2H screening platform, its sophisticated bioinformatics tools and extensive database, along with its chemical library and chemical screening platform

Juliette dos Santos


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