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Samaritan Discovers Long-Sought-After Small Molecule Drug That Induces Human Neuron Differentiation.

Business Editors & Health/Medical Writers

WASHINGTON--(BW HealthWire)--April 29, 2002

Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCBB:SPHC):

-- The promise of these cells is in their potential to become the

source of neurons that could be used to replace brain or spine

tissue, to possibly benefit Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and

spinal cord injury patients, among others

Samaritan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCBB:SPHC) through Samaritan Research Labs, Georgetown University, today announced that it has identified a small molecule drug that induces human neuron differentiation from precursor cells -- that is, they transform cells from embryonic early-stage development, to an adult state. Stem cells, cells that gives rise to a lineage of cells, are immature precursors that can become neurons; they exist in both embryonic and adult brain cells.

Using a model of human embryonal carcinoma stem cells, the Georgetown/Samaritan Research team screened a number of small molecules for their ability to induce neuronal differentiation. One of these molecules, discovered in reduced levels in Alzheimer's brain biopsies compared to age-matched controls, was found to induce neuronal differentiation as seen by the formation of networks of axon bundles and the expression of markers specific to adult human differentiated neurons. This molecule was found to be devoid of tumorigenic activity -- that is, capable of causing tumors, in contrast to other previously reported inducers of neuronal differentiation.

The Georgetown team, funded by a collaborative agreement by Samaritan Pharmaceuticals, is now proceeding to test this molecule in animal models. Although this molecule is early in its development, if this discovery becomes a successful drug, it could give incredible, long-sought-after hope for patients who suffer with related diseases.

The diseases or conditions that could be positively impacted by this discovery include: neurogenetic defects, spinal cord injury, spinal motor atrophy, stroke, multi-infarct dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and diseases where "neuronal regeneration" may be the treatment of choice for neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's. Moreover, such a molecule may offer an adjuvant treatment in neuronal stem cell therapy.

About Samaritan Pharmaceuticals

Samaritan Pharmaceuticals is an emerging product-driven biopharmaceutical company that has collaborated with Georgetown University to provide its research arm which is dedicated to saving lives by incubating breakthrough discovery for Alzheimer's, Cancer, Cholesterol Reduction, HIV and Parkinson's. Samaritan has an emerging patented pipeline, with one drug candidate Anticort(TM) completing Phase II human trials for HIV, two Predictive Medicine Diagnostics, Alzheimer's and Breast Cancer and six preclinical drug candidates targeted within its disease focus.

The company disclaims any information that is created by an outside party and endorses only information that is communicated by its press releases, filings and Web site. This news release contains forward-looking statements that reflect management's current beliefs about the potential for its drug candidates, science and technology for the approved indications. However, as with any biopharmaceutical under development, there are significant risks and uncertainties in the process of development and regulatory review. There are no guarantees that the product will prove to be commercially successful. For additional information about the factors that affect the company's business, please read the company's latest Form 10-K filed April 26, 2002. The company undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements.

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Publication:Business Wire
Date:Apr 29, 2002
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