SAN DIEGO, Nov. 6, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- MEI Pharma, Inc. (Nasdaq: MEIP), an oncology company focused on the clinical development of novel therapies for cancer, announced today that preliminary data from a pilot Phase II clinical trial of the Company's investigational oral histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, Pracinostat, in combination with azacitidine in patients with advanced myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) has been accepted for poster presentation at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting on December 10, 2012. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120628/LA32362LOGO) An abstract of the presentation, entitled "Very high rates of clinical and cytogenetic response with the combination of the histone deacetylase inhibitor Pracinostat (SB939) and 5-azacitidine in high-risk myelodysplastic syndrome," submitted by Dr. Quintas-Cardama and Dr. Garcia-Manero of the MD Anderson Cancer Center, is now available online at www.hematology.org. The poster will be presented at 6:00 p.m. Eastern time from Hall B1-B2, Level 1, Building B of the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta. "We are very encouraged not only by the response rates reported to date, but also by the rapid appearance of the responses with the combination of Pracinostat and azacitidine," said Daniel P. Gold, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of MEI Pharma. "These data are particularly compelling given that most patients in the study had treatment-related MDS and expressed high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities, both of which carry a poor prognosis. With these data in hand, combined with the capital raise we announced yesterday, we expect to be in a position to rapidly advance to the next stage of development and initiate a randomized Phase II trial of Pracinostat in combination with azacitidine in patients with MDS by the second quarter of next year." About Pracinostat Pracinostat is a selective inhibitor of a group of enzymes called histone deacetylases (HDAC). There are currently two HDAC inhibitors approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma, one of which is also approved for the treatment of peripheral T-cell lymphoma. Pracinostat has shown evidence of single-agent activity in multiple clinical trials, including advanced hematologic malignancies such as MDS, acute myeloid leukemia and myelofibrosis. Pracinostat has also demonstrated pre-clinical activity in hematologic disorders and solid tumors when used alone or in combination with a wide range of therapies in laboratory studies. Pracinostat has been generally well tolerated in clinical testing of more than 150 patients, with readily manageable side effects often associated with drugs of this class. The most common adverse event (all grades) is fatigue. Pracinostat has not been approved by the FDA for commercial distribution.