SHARON, Pa.--(BW HealthWire)--May 17, 1999--
Thomas A. Kelly, Ph.D., a research scientist of Infectech Inc. (National Quotation Service:IFEC), a Sharon, Pa. biotechnology company, in collaboration with Mitchell S. Felder, M.D. and Robert A. Ollar, Ph.D., has filed a patent for a novel method of inducing apoptosis -- also called Programmed Cell Death (PCD) by using hydrophobic hydrocarbons, notably paraffin -- a common household substance found in candles.
Apoptosis, which can be thought of as "cell suicide," is a natural process that occurs in the body to eliminate unwanted cells. It is a necessary and natural process -- nature's way of pruning her cellular garden. If the mechanism of inducing apoptosis can be understood, this would be enormously useful in a variety of disease states to eliminate undesirable cells, including cancer.
Many modalities for cancer therapy use drugs that in themselves are toxic, not only to cancer cells, but to healthy cells as well. Dr. Kelly's use of paraffin to induce cell death has an important advantage in that paraffin is non-toxic and its effect is local -- cells die only in contact with paraffin.
Dr. Kelly's article, "The Induction of Cell Death by Hydrophobic Hydrocarbons" appears in the May 1999 issue of BioTechniques, the leading biotechnology journal.
Dr. Kelly stated that, "We believe hydrophobic hydrocarbons are inducing cell death by changing the cyto-architecture of the cell, causing the cell to die, just as altering the structure of a building causes it to collapse.
"We are all tremendously excited about this work, as it may point to a better, less toxic, easier and safer way to kill cells in the body -- the hallmark of therapeutic modalities in the future."
Dr. Felder stated that, "This is very exciting to us as it could theoretically be used for inducing apoptosis in leukemic cells and other types of cancer cells. It could also serve as a possible experimental model in investigating many other devastating medical conditions such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy, certain birth defects such as Aicardi's Syndrome and T-cell apoptosis associated with HIV infection. What is most exciting about this method is its potential for a nontoxic cancer treatment."
Infectech Inc., founded in 1989, is a biotechnology company which owns 26 patents for the rapid identification and antibiotic sensitivity testing of 34 disease-causing bacteria. Among these bacteria are Tuberculosis, Pseudomonas, M. avium and Nocardia. These bacteria play a prominent role in causing the death of patients with cancer, Cystic Fibrosis and AIDS and also patients undergoing surgery. The company's main thrust is the development of a system for rapidly identifying bacteria infecting hospital patients utilizing its patented baiting technology in combination with fluorescent amplification. Infectech has been working with Breakthru Technologies, LLC, an Alexandria, Va. consulting firm which assists new and emerging companies. The Infectech Website is www.infectech.com. J. Alexander Securities Inc., Los Angeles, Calif., is the market maker for Infectech Inc. whose stock symbol is IFEC.
The above news release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on assumptions concerning production and sales, operating expenses, and other costs that management believes are reasonable based on currently available information. However, management's assumptions and the company's future performance are both subject to a wide range of business risks and there is no assurance that these goals and projections can or will be met.
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