BETHESDA, Md., Aug. 13, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Spherix Incorporated (Nadsaq:SPEX) – an innovator in biotechnology for therapy in diabetes, metabolic syndrome and atherosclerosis, and provider of technical and regulatory consulting services to food, supplement, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies – today announced that its investigational drug candidate SPX106T (a combination of SPX106 and D-tagatose) significantly reduced the growth rate of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) in two different strains of mice prone to hyperlipidemia. A photo accompanying this release is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/newsroom/prs/?pkgid=14020 In mice, AAAs can be provoked by hyperlipidemia and elevated blood pressure. In this study apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE -/-) mice were given a Western diet to promote hyperlipidemia and treated with SPX106T for four weeks before implantation of osmotic minipumps containing angiotensin II (angII); infusion of angiotensin was continued for an additional two weeks during the treatment. Statistical analysis showed that the growth curves of the diameters from aortas in the untreated ApoE -/- mice were greater than the growth curves in the mice treated with SPX106T (p<0.05). Greater growth indicates dilation of the aneurysm, with a concomitant increase in the risk of rupture and sudden death. The study was conducted after a pilot study in low density-lipoprotein receptor-deficient (LDLR-/-) mice given a Western diet, treated with SPX106T and infused with ang II, showed a treatment-related reduction in aortic diameter growth curves and atherosclerosis 1. False-color images of the abdominal aortas from an LDLR-/- mouse treated with SPX106T that developed an aneurysm, and an LDLR-/- mouse that received no drug treatment and developed an aneurysm are shown in Figure 1. Although the causes of AAAs in humans are unclear, risk factors include age, gender, genetics, smoking, atherosclerosis, hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure and cerebrovascular disease. Spherix's research into the mechanisms of action of SPX106T suggests that its pharmacologic activity may be a result of lowering blood lipids. Others have reported that a metabolite of SPX106 (a component of SPX106T) lowers matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9). MMP-9 is a proteolytic enzyme produced by vessel wall infiltrating macrophages that contributes to wall weakening by degrading structural components, including collagen. Tissue sections from the aortas of SPX106T treated LDLR-/- mice had more collagen than untreated mice, corroborating MMP-9 reduction as a possible mechanism by which SPX106T preserves collagen and reduces the rate of aneurysm growth.