Emily Singer

A View from Emily Singer

More Trouble for Sirtris

A clinical trial of its drug for combating the afflictions of aging has been suspended.

  • May 5, 2010

A clinical trial of Sirtris’s drug, SRT501, a potent version of resveratrol, a molecule found in red wine, has been suspended for safety reasons. The company, which was acquired by GlaxoSmithKline two years ago, is developing a number of drugs to combat the diseases of aging. The suspended trial was testing the drug for treatment of multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, in combination with Velcade, a drug that is already on the market.

According to Bloomberg:

Five of 24 patients in the trial developed cast nephropathy, a type of kidney damage that can stem from multiple myeloma and lead to organ failure, said Jo Revill, a spokeswoman for the London-based drugmaker.

However, SRT501 has previously been tested in two other trials for type 2 diabetes, without signs of this complication. It is in development for a number of diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, obesity, and cancer.

A separate class of molecules under development at Sirtris, has also come under fire recently. These molecules, known as sirtuin activators, were named for their reported ability to activate SIRT1, an enzyme thought to play a crucial role in aging. As I noted in a previous blog,

The Pfizer study suggested that resveratrol, a compound found in red wine, and other molecules under development at Sirtris, don’t really activate this key enzyme and may not even have the life-extending benefits that have been reported by Sirtris founder David Sinclair and others.

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