PLYMOUTH (WWJ) — ProNAi Therapeutics Inc., a developer of drugs that target cancer by interfering with cancer cells’ DNA, announced that data from its ongoing Phase II clinical study of its drug candidate PNT2258 will be presented at the 55th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology in New Orleans Dec. 7-10.

ProNAI chief medical officer Rich Messmann said the drug has shown anti-tumor responses in patients with relapsed non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

And ProNAi CEO Mina Sooch said the unique design of the drug has “allowed us to realize the promise of nucleic acid therapy without the liver toxicity or systemic delivery issues that limited the development of earlier drugs in this field.”

Sooch said the drug “targets the BCL2 gene that causes cancer cells to avoid cell death and leads to resistance. While the study results show encouraging data against hematological cancers as a single agent, BCL2 also plays a role in cancers such as breast, lung, prostate, and sarcomas where a combination approach would be pursued. We look forward to designing and initiating further studies, either alone or with strategic partners.”

The study includes 10 patients treated between January and August 2013. Only two patients exhibited progression of disease.

In addition to PNT2258, the company has an expanding pipeline of potential drug candidates using DNA interference for more than over 30 cancer and non-cancer targets.

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