RESEARCH TRIANGLE…Incara Pharmaceuticals Corp. (OTC:ICRA) says a compound from its proprietary catalytic antioxidants slows tumor regrowth after radiation therapy in tests on mice and may offer a new way to attack cancers.

A Duke University researcher says the compound, AEOL 10113, turns off a substance tumors release when irradiated called hypoxia inducible factor-1, or HIF-1. HIF-1, which in turn sparks new blood vessel growth that renews the tumor.

Mark W. Dewhirst, of the Duke University Medical Center department of radiation oncology and pathology, who directed the recent studies of the compound, says, “The finding of this mechanism whereby an antioxidant mimetic can turn offHIF-1 in tumors gives us a specific target to go after. It is centrally important in regulation of blood vessel growth. The mechanism is specific for tumors since HIF-1 is not involved in regulating vessels in normal tissues.

Thus we have an opportunity for a unique therapeutic gain in the treatment of tumors.”

James D.Crapo, M.D., Incara’s CEO, says, “Irradiated tumors adapt to the radiation damage by up-regulating the HIF-1 mediated pathway to stimulate blood vessel regrowth and thereby enhance the tumor’s blood supply.

“We had previously observed that AEOL 10113 protects normal tissue from radiation therapy damage. These data from Dr. Dewhirst’s laboratory show a new second mode of action of our compound that makes the tumor less able to recover from radiation therapy. We are very excited by the prospects of this new mechanism of action for our compound.”

Compounds from Incara’s antioxidant program have inhibited the growth of tumors in animal models of cancer as well as protected normal cells during animal models of radiation therapy.

Incara has been awarded a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant from the National Cancer Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to study the anti-tumor and radiation-protective effects of Incara’s catalytic antioxidants. Currently ongoing, the research funded by the grant will explore the ability of Incara’s compound to inhibit the vascularization of tumors and to block damage to normal tissue from radiation therapy.