A Possible New Indication for Progenix's Relistor Could Revive Its Fortunes

On Wednesday (Nov. 18), Progenic's Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:PGNX), received some good news in the form of a Reuters story stating that the widely-used painkiller drug, morphine, may actually accelerate cancer growth in patients. Researchers in the US have results from two studies that show that morphine could be on the wrong side of the fight against cancer. But PGNX's drug, Relistor, has shown promise in reversing some of the tumor-generating effects in mice and, significantly, in lung cancer cells.

The article also quoted Patrick SIngleton of the University of Chicago Medical Center, who remarked on the findings of two studies at a Oncology meeting recently, as saying, "This drug might actually inhibit the progression of lung cancer."

The potential for Relistor and PGNX could be huge. Singleton went on to say that a number of studies have indicated that opiate-based pain medications stimulate cancer cell growth and encourage the spread of cancers.

The latest studies focused on the effects of Relistor (methylnaltrexone) on the interfering or blocking of opiate receptors on cancer cells. Lung tumor cells in laboratory dishes did not spread when methylnaltrexone was introduced to the dishes. Also,studies on mice produced impressive results with the drug reducing the spread of cancer by 90 percent.

The potential significance for PGNX cannot be understated. With an obvious incentive to pursue this surprise indication for Relistor, PGNX should have no problem in either attracting another partner or finding the investors to "go it alone".

PGNX has not issued a press release yet on this findings yet (for the traders out there).

Disclosure: Long PGNX