ARTICLE | Tools & Techniques

Going organic with arsenic

September 20, 2004 7:00 AM UTC

A detoxified form of arsenic may not only prove safer than marketed arsenic in treating proliferative diseases, but also be more efficacious in certain cancers. Ziopharm Inc., which last week in-licensed arsenic complexed to organic molecules, said the organic arsenic causes apoptosis and cell cycle arrest, whereas inorganic arsenic promotes cell differentiation. The company therefore believes the compound could have broad efficacy in hematologic cancers and solid tumors.

According to CEO Jonathan Lewis, the body's first step in detoxifying inorganic arsenic is to complex it with organic molecules. Indeed, the company's in-licensed compound - obtained from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Texas A&M University and dubbed ZIO-101 - has already taken this first step. ...