Quark Pharmaceuticals announced today the publication of data showing that one of its proprietary gene targets, RTP801, plays a role in cigarette smoke-induced pulmonary injury and emphysema.
In a paper published in Nature Medicine, researchers reported "increased levels of RTP801 mRNA and protein in the lungs of humans suffering from emphysema and in the lungs of mice exposed to cigarette smoke," Quark said. "Unlike normal mice, mice that could not express RTP801 did not develop emphysema following six months of intensive exposure to cigarette smoke."
"The findings … broaden the therapeutic potential of targeting RTP801," Quark CSO Elena Feinstein said in a statement.
Noting that a Quark-developed siRNA targeting RTP801 is currently in phase II development for wet age-related macular degeneration and diabetic macular edema by partner Pfizer (RNAi News 9/28/2006), she added that the new data provide "support for additional clinical applications of this drug, such as treatment of acute and chronic lung injury."
Researchers from Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Colorado, the Bloomberg School of Public Health, National Jewish Health, the University of Pittsburgh, and Indiana University also contributed to the paper.