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Breakthrough New Therapy Uses Antibody-Targeted Chemotherapy To Fight Leukemia

in, the antibody selectively targets leukemic blast cells, while sparing cells that are responsible for replenishing normal blood cells once the leukemia is eradicated.

Promising results continue to emerge from a pivotal Phase II trial in the U.S., which involves patients who experienced a relapse following initial AML chemotherapy. CMA-676 given alone appears to produce remission among 36 percent of patients- a rate comparable to that of standard combination chemotherapy regimens. The data also indicate that CMA-676 has several important advantages over standard agents.

"The side effects are mild and well-tolerated relative to standard chemotherapy, especially by elderly patients," says Eric Sievers, M.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Also, the treatment did not produce some of the more common chemotherapy-induced side effects."

Whereas standard combination chemotherapy treatment often produces significant major organ damage, and sores both in the mouth and in the intestinal tract (frequent sources for opportunistic infections), CMA-676 treatment does not. CMA-676 also is associated with a relatively low treatment-related mortality. As with standard chemotherapy treatments, CMA-676 produces a temporary suppression of bone marrow and blood cell counts.

CMA-676 is administered in two IV infusions fourteen days apart, and many patients have received the drug on an outpatient basis. Unlike standard chemotherapy regimens, which involve multiple drugs, CMA-676 is given alone. It is thus less likely to produce serious drug-drug interactions.

Similar studies of this new therapy are underway throughout Europe and Canada, and the developers of CMA-676 eventually hope to adapt their groundbreaking technology for the treatment of other devastating cancers.


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Contact: Susan Edmonds
sedmonds@fhcrc.org
206-667-2896
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
16-May-1999


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