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TGen and Scottsdale Healthcare launch Phase I 'Thunder God vine' trial for cancer
Date:9/12/2013

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. Sept. 12, 2013 Taking a page from Chinese herbal medicine, Scottsdale Healthcare and the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) today initiated the first-in-human clinical trial for pancreatic cancer patients using a compound derived from a plant known as "Thunder God vine."

The first patient to participate in this clinical trial received treatment today at Scottsdale Healthcare's Virginia G. Piper Cancer Center Clinical Trials, a partnership of Scottsdale Healthcare and TGen.

The Thunder God vine (Tripterygium wilfordii), also known as lei gong teng, is native to China, Japan and Korea. Traditional Chinese medicine has used the vine for more than 2,000 years as a treatment for everything from fever to inflammation and autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.

A chemical compound called triptolide is among the more than 100 bioactive ingredients derived from the Thunder God vine. Preclinical studies showed a pharmaceutical version of triptolide called Minnelide proved effective against pancreatic cancer cells, according to a study by Dr. Ashok K. Saluja, Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Surgery, University of Minnesota and Chief Scientific Officer and Co-Founder of Minneamrita Therapeutics LLC, published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved use of the compound Minnelide for a clinical trial of gastrointestinal cancer patients including pancreatic cancer.

"We have known for years about the potential beneficial use of Thunder God vine, but only recently with the advent of Minnelide have we created a form of triptolide that can be easily administered to patients," said Dr. Mohana R. Velagapudi, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Minneamrita Therapeutics LLC, the trials sponsor. "This clinical trial will hopefully provide the proof of concept so patients beyond the
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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