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Tekmira Begins Dosing Patients in Phase I Trial of Cancer Drug

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Tekmira Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has begun dosing patients in a phase I study of its siRNA-based cancer drug TKM-PLK1.

The agent targets polo-like kinase 1, a cell cycle protein involved in tumor cell proliferation, the company said.

"TKM-PLK1 has demonstrated anti-tumor efficacy in preclinical models of liver cancer, as well as tumors outside the liver, supporting our strong belief that PLK1 represents an excellent target for
RNAi," Tekmira President and CEO Mark Murray said in a statement.

The phase I trial is an open-label, multi-dose, dose-escalation study designed to
evaluate the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of TKM-PLK1, as well as determine the therapy's maximum tolerated dose. It will enroll up to 52 patients with advanced solid tumors.

Tekmira said that it will also measure tumor response and the pharmacodynamic effects of the drug in patients providing biopsies.

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