News from the 2005 meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Orlando, Fla.:

• AEterna Zentaris Inc., of Quebec, said data from 341 patients demonstrated that blinded overall toxicity of Neovastat appears acceptable in an ongoing National Cancer Institute Phase III trial in unresectable Stage III non-small-cell lung cancer. Partial and complete responses were shown in 35 percent of induction chemotherapy patients, and in 39 percent of chemoradiotherapy patients.

• CancerVax Corp., of Carlsbad, Calif., announced Phase II data that showed treatment with SAI-EGF, a specific active immunotherapy candidate that targets the epidermal growth factor receptor signaling pathway, was well tolerated, stimulated an antibody response to EGF, and reduced circulating EGF in patients with advanced non-small-cell lung cancer. The company plans to initiate a Phase II trial of SAI-EGF in patients with non-small-cell lung cancer in late 2005 or early 2006.

• Inex Pharmaceuticals Corp., of Vancouver, British Columbia, said results from clinical studies indicated its lead cancer drug, Marqibo, has shown antitumor activity in patients with relapsed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and pediatric malignancies. The company is working to finalize the design of Phase III trials in non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and acute lymphoblastic leukemia in order to file special protocol assessments with the FDA

• NeoPharm Inc., of Lake Forest, Ill., reported preliminary Phase I data of its NeoLipid compound LErafAON-ETU, showing it represents an opportunity for improving the delivery of novel cancer therapies. The liposomal formulation of an antisense oligonucleotide is complementary to the c-raf mRNA sequence, which mediates tumor cell growth.

• Guilford Pharmaceuticals Inc., of Baltimore, said preclinical data from its NAALADase inhibitor program suggest that they might have use in preventing and reversing chemotherapy-induced neuropathy in animal models. A second study indicated that NAALADase inhibitors can prevent and reverse the sensory nerve conduction velocity deficits caused by chemotherapeutic drugs.

• The Pierre Fabre Research Institute, of Boulogne, France, reported results of a large, international Phase III trial on adjuvant Navelbine (vinorelbine, GlaxoSmithKline plc) plus cisplatin after complete resection in patients with early stage non-small-cell lung cancer, which showed that Navelbine-cisplatin treatment yielded a median survival benefit of 22 months and a median relapse-free survival benefit of 16 months. The study also showed that the benefit in survival increases with time from 5 percent at two years to more than 8 percent at seven years.