A new drug that may help increase the survival time of patients suffering from late stage liver cancer is currently under advanced testing in Hong Kong.

The drug, code-named AEG35156, developed by Aegera Therapeutics Inc., has been found to delay the survival rate of patients when given in combination with other regularly prescribed treatment for liver cancer.

This study, titled A-Phase 1-2, Open-Label Study of The X-Linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis (XIAP) Antisense AEG35156, is being conducted in combination with Sorafenib in patients suffering from Advanced Hepatocellular Carcinoma".

The data from 13 patients treated with drug indicated that AEG35156 is also safe in patients. "I am greatly encouraged by this interim data read and look forward to completing this study as quickly as possible to ascertain whether the improved survival data can be confirmed in the Phase-2 of the trial, " says Dr. Jacques Jolivet, senior vice-president at Aegera Therapeutics.

AEG35156 is a 2nd generation antisense oligonucleotide. This targeted therapy is designed to lower the apoptotic threshold of cancer cells and enhancing their sensitivity to intrinsic death and chemotherapy, without actually harming the healthy cells.

"We are excited about the results of the Phase-I and now focused on completing recruitment to the randomized Phase-2 of the clinical trial to confirm the therapeutic benefit of the AEG35156/sorafenib combination" says Professor Benny Chung-Ying Zee, PhD, Director of the Centre for Clinical Trials, School of Public Health and Primary Care, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Aegera is also working on several preclinical programs in the area of autoimmune, inflammatory and central nervous system diseases.