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Ranpirnase is a ribonuclease enzyme found in Northern Leopard Frog (Rana pipiens) oocytes. It is being studied in the treatment of cancer, specifically in pleural and peritoneal mesothelioma. It is manufactured by Tamir Biotechnology, Inc. (formerly Alfacell Corporation) of Monmouth Junction, NJ and known by the ONCONASE trademark. Onconase has been demonstrated as selectively cytotoxic against tumor cells[1] and has been used empirically to treat malignant mesothelioma patients, with some patients experiencing prolonged survivals.[2]

A related therapeutic, QBI-139, is in Phase I trial.[3] QBI-139 is an analog of human ribonuclease.[citation needed]

According to the company, this is a biopharmaceutical product candidate that works in a manner similar to RNA interference (RNAi). The product candidate, ONCONASE, is an RNase that "overcomes the challenges of targeting RNA for therapeutic purposes while enabling the development of a new class of therapies for cancer, viral, and other life-threatening diseases."[this quote needs a citation] Currently, Tamir is conducting a Phase II clinical trial with the addition of Ranpirnase (ONCONASE) to Pemetrexed plus Carboplatin in patients with non-squamous, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).[citation needed]

Also according to the company, "ONCONASE is a first-in-class therapeutic based on Tamir's proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology. A natural protein isolated from the leopard frog, ONCONASE has been shown in the laboratory and clinic to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE triggers apoptosis, the natural death of cells, via multiple molecular mechanisms of action."


  1. ^ Casares-Atienza, Salvador; Weininger, Ulrich; Cámara-Artigas, Ana; Balbach, Jochen; Garcia-Mira, Maria M. (2011). "Three-state thermal unfolding of onconase". Biophysical Chemistry 159 (2–3): 267–74. doi:10.1016/j.bpc.2011.07.005. PMID 21840114. [unreliable medical source?]
  2. ^ Nasu, Masaki; Carbone, Michele; Gaudino, Giovanni; Ly, Bevan H.; Bertino, Pietro; Shimizu, David; Morris, Paul; Pass, Harvey I.; Yang, Haining (2011). "Ranpirnase Interferes with NF- B Pathway and MMP9 Activity, Inhibiting Malignant Mesothelioma Cell Invasiveness and Xenograft Growth". Genes & Cancer 2 (5): 576–84. doi:10.1177/1947601911412375. PMC 3161417. PMID 21901170. [unreliable medical source?]
  3. ^ Clinical trial number NCT00818831 for "A Study of QBI-139 in Subjects With Advanced Solid Tumors" at ClinicalTrials.gov

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