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ALPHA-BETA TECHNOLOGY’s FIBERCEL DEMONSTRATES CHOLESTEROL-LOWERING

Executive Summary

ALPHA-BETA TECHNOLOGY's FIBERCEL DEMONSTRATES CHOLESTEROL- LOWERING activity in animals when compared to oat bran. Preclinical results with Fibercel, a brewer's yeast-derived beta glucan, were presented by Alpha-Beta Technology President Spiros Jamas in an Aug. 30 press conference the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington, D.C. In the studies, conducted by researchers at the company and the University of Lowell (Massachusetts), hamsters were fed a high fat diet for seven weeks, after which the animals received either Fibercel or oat bran as 5% of their diet. At the end of four weeks of treatment, lipid profiles showed that total cholesterol in the Fibercel group had dropped by 42% (from 308 to 180 mg/dl) compared to a 19% (from 314 to 255 mg/dl) drop in the oat bran group. The studies also showed that Fibercel had a significant effect in lowering low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol. Prior to treatment, the level of the hamsters' LDL cholesterol was 210 mg/dl in the Fibercel group and 200 mg/dl in the oat bran group. Following treatment, LDL cholesterol levels were reduced by 69%, to 66 mg/dl, in the hamsters that received Fibercel compared to a 29% reduction, to 143 mg/dl, in the animals receiving oat bran. The company plans to begin human clinicals in 1991. It also plans to pursue marketing of the product OTC and as a food additive. The firm has two other glucan products in preclinical development. Betafectin stimulates the beta glucan receptor, increasing white blood cell activity to prevent and treat infections in patients with weakened immune systems, including patients with AIDS, undergoing chemotherapy or at risk of infections following major surgery. Adjuvax is being developed as a vaccine enhancer, consisting of glucan microspheres that stimulate the immune system and into which a vaccine antigen can be encapsulated for delivery into white blood cells. Alpha-Beta Technology is a Worcester, Massachusetts-based firm specializing in carbohydrate polymers. It was founded in 1988 by Jamas and Davidson Easson, both former Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers. The director of the company's biopolymer research is former Genzyme researcher Gary Ostroff, PhD.
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