More chance of a cure for patients with common and aggressive form of blood cancer

Two year follow up from pivotal study shows benefit of using MabThera plus CHOP chemotherapy in the treatment of aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL)

Orlando, Florida, 10 December 2001 - Patients with an aggressive form of blood cancer, non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, can increase their chance of a cure with the new drug combination MabThera (rituximab) plus CHOP (standard chemotherapy), compared to standard chemotherapy alone. This is according to two year results from the pivotal GELA study presented today at the American Society of Hematology (ASH).

Based on these updated results it is estimated that after a median follow up of almost 26 months, 70% of patients treated with the MabThera plus CHOP combination will be alive and well, compared to 57% after standard chemotherapy alone. Current medical opinion indicates that if patients survive past the two-year milestone their chances of a cure can be up to 90% .

Lead investigator for the GELA study, Professor Bertrand Coiffier, head of the Department of Hematology, Hospices Civiles de Lyon, France said: "This is the first new drug combination in more than 20 years to show an improvement in overall survival for patients with aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL), a rapidly fatal form of the cancer. This is a real breakthrough for NHL sufferers around the world."

The MabThera plus CHOP combination is also effective in treating another form of the disease known as indolent, or low grade NHL. Dr Myron Czuczman's data on the six year follow-up of patients with indolent NHL, treated with MabThera plus CHOP showed that 55% of the patients are still in remission at almost four years (46.8 months) and up to seven years (86.3 months). All patients treated responded (58% complete response and 42% partial response) and the overall response rate in patients who completed therapy was 100% (63% complete response and 37% partial response).

Approximately 1.5 million peopl

Contact: Rina Amin

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