WASHINGTON _ VX-710, an intravenous chemosensitizingcompound developed by Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., was welltolerated in patients according to preliminary data from a Phase I/IItrial released at the American Association for Cancer Research(AACR) conference on Wednesday.

In a 22-patient study, VX-710 also showed some activity in inhibitingmultidrug resistance (MDR) in human tissue. If it proves effective,VX-710 could treat multidrug resistance in cancer patients byrestoring and enhancing the efficacy of chemotherapeutic drugs. APhase II trial testing the safety and efficacy of VX-710 anddoxorubicin in liver cancer patients is slated to begin in mid-1996.

Cambridge, Mass.-based Vertex researchers also presented data atthe AACR meeting on an oral chemosensitizing compound known asVX-583. In vitro, VX-583 demonstrated potent inhibition of MDRand its associated protein, MRP. Vertex began a Phase I/II trial ofVX-583 in combination with doxorubicin earlier this month.

Immunomedics Humanizes Anti-Antibody

Immunomedics Inc. said on Wednesday that it has humanized amurine monoclonal antibody against another antibody, an anti-carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) antibody.

The Morris Plains, N.J.-based company said the anti-antibody couldpermit higher doses of the anti-CEA antibody to be delivered topatients because it could clear the therapeutic antibody from normaltissues, potentially reducing side effects. The anti-antibody wasengineered to be over 95 percent human in order to allow repeatadministrations.

Jury Still Out On Immune Response's IL-2

Using a mixture of interleukin-2 (IL-2) transduced fibroblasts andautologous irradiated tumor cells, researchers at the Sidney KimmelCancer Center, in San Diego, recently treated six patients withcolorectal carcinoma in a Phase I trial.

The IL-2 gene therapy, developed by San Diego-based ImmuneResponse Corp., caused flu-like symptoms in five of six patients andskin reactions at the site of injection in three patients. A cellular anti-tumor immune response was demonstrated in an undisclosed numberof patients, leading researchers to conclude that further study of theexperimental therapy is warranted.

Canji Pursues p53 Suppressor Gene Therapy

A replication deficient recombinant adenovirus encoding wild-typep53 (a tumor suppressor gene) was engineered by Canji Inc., of SanDiego, and tested in a murine model of aggressive ovarian cancer.

The p53 adenovirus construct inhibited the tumorigenicity of ovariancancer cells in treated mice by more than 50 percent as compared tocontrol animals. Researchers said the findings may have relevance tothe therapeutic potential of p53 suppressor gene therapy in humanovarian cancer. n

-- Lisa Piercey Special To BioWorld Today

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.