Interim results of Phase I/II trials of a 9-cis-retinoic acid compounddeveloped by Allergan Inc. and Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc. as acancer treatment have revealed the drug is well tolerated and does notinduce its own metabolism.Data from the ongoing dose escalation studies of oral LGD1057 werepresented at the 23rd annual meeting of the International Society forExperimental Hematology in Minneapolis.The oral cancer treatment, based on retinoid technology, is beingdeveloped by Allergan, of Irvine, Calif., and San Diego-based LigandPharmaceuticals under a 50-50 joint venture. Retinoids are naturallyoccurring hormones related to vitamin A. They have biological effectson a wide variety of cell types, mediated by selective binding tointracellular receptors.In preclinical tests, the 9-cis-retinoic acid analog LGD1057 has beenshown to inhibit cell proliferation and induce apoptosis and celldifferentiation.According to Ligand Pharmaceuticals, the finding that the compounddoes not induce its own catabolism is the most significant at this stageof the studies. It indicates the compound may have use as a chronic, ormaintenance, treatment of cancer.The 25 patients enrolled in the trial have been diagnosed with variouscancers, including non-small cell lung cancer, sarcoma, cutaneous Tcell lymphoma, malignant mesothelioma and acute promyelocyticleukemia.Additional data will be presented at the conclusion of the trial, which isexpected in the next several months. A second, separate Phase I/II trialalso is under way. Phase II trials are expected to begin by the end of theyear.Ligand and Allergen began their collaboration in 1992, combining theformer's receptor technology with the latter's collection of retinoids. _Charles Craig082594

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