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Lilly Oncology Reveals Findings From Study of JAK2 Inhibitor for Blood Cancers at ASH Meeting

Mon, 12/12/2011 - 5:37am
Bio-Medicine.Org

SAN DIEGO, Dec. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) announced data from an oncology pipeline molecule today at the 53rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH). At the meeting, Lilly Oncology presented Phase I data from the investigational therapy LY2784544, a small-molecule Janus kinase 2 (JAK2) inhibitor, in development for the treatment of certain types of myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs), a group of blood cancers[1] characterized by abnormal production of red blood cells or myeloid cells (non-lymphocyte white blood cells).[2]

"Research into myeloproliferative neoplasms demonstrated the importance of the JAK2 genetic mutation as a target for potential treatment options," said Richard Gaynor, M.D., vice president of product development and medical affairs at Lilly Oncology. "These data show that our compound has the potential to inhibit the JAK2 mutation and should be studied further. We hope that this study is the first in Lilly's ongoing research and development of LY2784544 and that our findings signal a potential new treatment for patients fighting myeloproliferative neoplasms."

The Role of JAK2 in MPN

In 2005, researchers reported that a point mutation in the JAK2 gene occurs in more than 95 percent of patients with the MPN subtype polycythemia vera (PV) and the majority of patients with the subtypes myelofibrosis (MF) and essential thrombocythemia (ET).[2,3] The JAK2 point mutation observed in MPNs substitutes the amino acid phenylalanine for valine (at position 617 [V617F]) of the JAK2 protein.[2] The mutation makes JAK2 constantly active, triggering several signaling pathways that cause blood-forming cells to proliferate and resist apoptosis (programmed cell death).[4]  

Phase I Study Sought to Ascertain Safety, Tolerability

In pre-clinical study, LY2784544 selectively

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