Protalix Therapy Eliminates Ulcerative Colitis in a Third of Patients in Phase 2 Trial

Protalix Therapy Eliminates Ulcerative Colitis in a Third of Patients in Phase 2 Trial
Protalix BioTherapeutics’ ulcerative colitis therapy OPRX-106 eradicated the disease in a third of the first 14 patients participating in a Phase 2 clinical trial. Fifty-seven percent of the patients responded to the treatment in some way, Protalix added. Although scientists have made major advances in ulcerative colitis treatment, there is no cure for the inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis is an autoimmune disease, or one in which the immune system attacks healthy tissue. A cell signaling protein called tumor necrosis factor, which regulates immune cells, plays a key role in the inflammation involved in the disease. OPRX-106 targets tumor necrosis factor, or TNF. It is a fusion protein, or one made up of parts of two proteins fused together. In this case, the components are TNF receptor II and IgG1 Fc. An unusual feature of OPRX-106 is that it is delivered to the gut in a plant cell. The cell's cellulose wall prevents the treatment from disintegrating in the digestive tract. OPRX-106 is an oral alternative to injected therapies that target TNF. Injected versions can have non-gut-related side effects and generate antibodies that reduce the drug's punch. By delivering a treatment directly to the gut, an oral version avoids these problems. In addition, it is more convenient for patients than injections. Studies in mice indicating that OPRX-106 could alleviate bowel disease led to a Phase 1 clinical trial of the therapy in healthy volunteers (
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