AMES, Iowa, Sept. 21, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- NewLink Genetics (Nasdaq:NLNK) announced today that it will begin an investigator initiated, randomized, double blind placebo controlled Phase 2 study entitled "Phase II Study of sipuleucel-T (PROVENGE ®) plus indoximod (D-1MT/NLG8189) in the treatment of patients with asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic metastatic hormone refractory prostate cancer." This study is done in collaboration with Dendreon Corporation (DNDN) and the Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota. Dr. Gautam Jha, assistant professor of medicine at the University of Minnesota will lead this multicenter study with a planned enrollment of 50 patients. Men with hormone refractory metastatic prostate cancer, eligible for therapy with sipuleucel-T (PROVENGE) will be enrolled to evaluate the safety and efficacy of the combination of NewLink's indoximod with Dendreon's PROVENGE. "We are excited with the opportunity to explore potential benefits of combining our indoximod immuno-modulatory product candidate with PROVENGE, the first FDA-approved active cellular immunotherapy product for cancer," said Dr. Nick Vahanian, President and Chief Medical Officer of NewLink Genetics. About indoximod and inhibition of the IDO pathway IDO pathway inhibitors, including indoximod, represent a potential breakthrough approach to cancer therapy using small-molecule, anti-toleragenic product candidates intended to counteract a key mechanism by which tumors evade immune-mediated destruction. IDO is an enzyme that regulates immune response by suppressing T-cell function and enabling local tumor immune escape. Recent studies have demonstrated that IDO is overexpressed in many cancers, within both tumor cells as a direct defense against T-cell attack, and also within antigen presenting cells in tumor draining lymph nodes whereby IDO promotes peripheral tolerance to tumor associated antigens (TAAs). When hijacked by developing cancers in this manner, IDO may facilitate the survival, growth, invasion, and metastasis of malignant cells expressing TAAs that might otherwise be recognized and attacked by the immune system as foreign. Indoximod is currently in multiple Phase 1B/2 studies evaluating the addition of indoximod to Taxotere in the treatment of breast cancer and the addition of indoximod to an autologous P-53 Denritic Cell vaccine, also in the treatment of breast cancer patients. In addition to its clinical indoximod product candidate, NewLink has an active program directed at synthesizing other IDO pathway inhibitors.