SOT 2015: presented by Accelera and StemGen new data on treatment of glioblastoma, the most common brain tumor.

Nerviano, March 27, 2015 - Under study toxicity and safety profile of a new treatment designed with BMP4 of stemgen, a 'key' protein able to block the reproduction of stem cells in brain tumor. The results of pre-clinical reasearch show a good toxicity profile and suggest BMP4 as a possible innovative biological therapy against the most aggressive and resistant of brain tumors.

The administration of BMP4 in preclinical – in intracerebral or intravenous infusion over a period of 7 days - has showed good tolerability with no particular effects of local or systemic toxicity. These results were presented by Nerviano researchers at SOT 2015 in San Diego, the 54th annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology.

The relationship between glioblastoma growth and cancer stem cells has been already extensively studied by Prof. Angelo Luigi Vescovi and his team at StemGen in Milan. These stem cells are responsible for the growth of many tumors, including glioblastoma and are difficult to isolate and hit as they escape traditional oncology therapies. Cancer stem cells are also responsible for relapses of this tumor, absolutely the most lethal ones.

Thanks to its toxicological research, Accelera - of NMS Group - contributed to the development of the innovative therapeutic approach based on BMP4. As already reported by StemGen on Nature in 2006, this morphogenetic protein is able to force the mutation of glioblastoma stem cells into more differentiated nerve cells, unable to continue the disease growth. The concept is radically new and never conceived up to now in solid tumors.

“Manage to neutralize the 'bad' stem cells of glioblastoma
- sayd Professor Vescovi, Founder and Scientific Director of StemGen Spa - means to inhibit the tumor growth and also to reduce the relapse risk for this relevant cancer with a frequent lethal prognosis. Today BMP4 represents a hope and an important candidate treatment that has already received recognition as Orphan Drug by the European regulatory authorities.”

Glioblastoma is the most frequent and high malignant form of primary tumors affecting the central nervous system and represents 15% of all brain tumors. According to Italian Association of Cancer Registries (Airtum) data, in our country it affects over 1,200 people per year, on average between 45 and 70 years even if it has a youth and pediatric peak. In fact, glioblastoma is the most frequent histological type among rare pediatric brain tumors, with a lethal prognosis.
The average survival is unfortunately less than two years.

New data from preclinical toxicology phase presented by researchers of Accelera - among the few companies involved in preclinical research activities in Italy - and StemGen confirm that the administration of BMP4 could represent in the future a potential innovative therapy for this aggressive and resistant brain tumor.

“The research project developed for StemGen
- adds Enrico Pesenti, Managing Director of Accelera - confirms the exclusive expertise of Accelera as partner of major international players and public and private institutions involved in developing preclinical programs of biological and advanced cell therapies. Furthermore, it recognises the quality and the excellence of the research developed in Nerviano laboratories.”
Preclinical results are more than encouraging, now it's up to clinical phase trials to confirm the effectiveness of this new biological treatment.


S. G. M. Piccirillo, B. A. Reynolds, N. Zanetti, G. Lamorte, E. Binda, G. Broggi, H. Brem, A. Olivi, F. Dimeco and A. L. Vescovi. Bone morphogenetic proteins inhibit the tumorigenic potential of human brain tumor-initiating cells. Nature 444, 761-765 (7 December 2006)
G. Di Gallo, L. Nobili, M. Russo, E. Binda, C.I. Bernardi; A.L. Vescovi Human-recombinant Bone Morphogenetic Protein 4 (hrBMP4): Safety profile  after 7-day continuous Intracerebral (IC) and IV Administration in the mouse (Poster presentation, SOT 2015)
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