NORCROSS, Ga., June 12, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Galectin Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GALT), the leading developer of therapeutics that target galectin proteins to treat fibrosis and cancer, today announced that preclinical studies have shown that combining the galectin inhibitor GR-MD-02 with monoclonal antibodies that function as immune checkpoint blockade inhibitors enhance shrinkage of prostate and breast cancer tumors. These data were generated by the laboratory of Dr. William Redmond of the Robert W. Franz Cancer Research Center in the Earle A. Chiles Research Institute (EACRI) at Providence Cancer Center ( Portland, OR), an expert in tumor immunology and part of a comprehensive pre-clinical and clinical program in cancer immunotherapy. The addition of GR-MD-02, a drug that inhibits galectin proteins, was found to increase tumor shrinkage and enhance survival in immune competent mice with prostate and breast cancers when combined with one of the immune checkpoint blockade inhibitors, anti-CTLA-4 or anti-PD-1.
"Immunotherapy with checkpoint blockade inhibitors, such as anti-CTLA-4 monoclonal antibodies (marketed as YERVOY ™ by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS)) and anti-PD-1 monoclonal antibodies (in development at BMS and Merck), is an extremely exciting area for advancing human cancer immunotherapy," said Dr. Peter G. Traber, President, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Medical Officer, Galectin Therapeutics. "However, these agents are currently only effective in a limited percentage of patients. The ability of GR-MD-02 to increase the effectiveness of these important drugs is a potentially important approach to enhance cancer immunotherapy."
"The findings of these experiments show that GR-MD-02 had a robust effect on augmenting the immune response and tumor efficacy when combined with well characterized agents for cancer immunotherapy," said Dr. Redmond, Assistant Member at the EACRI. "The experimental tumor models used are relatively resistant to therapy to checkpoint blockade inhibitors alone, indicating that the addition of GR-MD-02 may be a potentially important agent in combination therapy."