PATENT GRANTED FOR A PROMISING MELANOMA DRUG
University of Illinois at Chicago and Advanced Life Sciences
Conduct collaborative research
Woodridge, Ill (January 21, 2003) - The U.S. Patent and Trademark
Office has issued a patent to the University of Illinois at Chicago
(UIC), bolstering the university's proprietary position in the
use of betulinic acid and its derivatives. UIC is conducting research
on betulinic acid in collaboration with Woodridge, Ill-based Advanced
Life Sciences, to determine its potential as an anti-cancer agent
in the treatment of malignant melanoma, a common, but virulent
form of skin cancer.
Patent No. 6495600 B1 (method and composition for selectively
inhibiting melanoma) applies to betulinic acid and its derivatives.
The lead compound, betulinic acid, is derived from birch bark
and works by promoting the death of certain cancer cells. It has
demonstrated pre-clinical activity against human melanoma.
Dr. John Pezzuto, MD, PhD, formerly with UIC's College of Pharmacy
and now dean of Purdue University's College of Pharmacy, Nursing
and Health Services and Dr. Tapas K. Das Gupta, MD, PhD, professor
and head of Surgical Oncology at UIC's College of Medicine, are
the primary inventors of this technology. Advanced Life Sciences
has acquired the exclusive worldwide license to commercialize
the technology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
"This broad patent coverage expands our intellectual property
portfolio in betulinic acid for potential anti-cancer drugs,"
said Michael Flavin, PhD, CEO of Advanced Life Sciences.
Advanced Life Sciences (www.advancedlifesciences.com) is a privately
held biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery, development
and commercialization of novel drugs in the therapeutic areas
of infection, cancer, and inflammation using its platform in natural
products and chemical proteomics coupled with expertise in drug