Aphton Corp. reported Friday that its Immunogen CGCproduced high levels of antibodies to the hormone gastrin 17(G17), "ensuring the complete neutralization" of G17 in a PhaseI/II trial of colon cancer patients.

Aphton of Woodland, Calif., said G17 is a trophic (growth-promoting) factor of colon cancer and is one of the majorregulators of stomach acid secretion. A decrease in stomachacid was used as a physiological marker of G17 neutralization.In the study, "stomach acid was reduced to the extent of atleast 90 percent in all assayed patients, slightly greater thanreductions achievable with H2 blocker drugs currently used inthe treatment of ulcerations of the gastrointestinal tract,"Aphton said.

Founded in 1981, the biopharmaceutical company is developingproducts that use the body's immune system, in the form ofantibodies, to engage non-foreign, or "self," molecules such ashormones that are involved in diseases. Aphton(NASDAQ:APHT) said its approach is to redirect the immunesystem by inducing it to generate a controlled response againstself molecules as though it were responding to foreignmolecules or pathogens.

Gastrin Immunogen CGC is the company's first product to enterclinicals. The compound entered clinical trials last year in theUnited Kingdom for both colorectal and gastric cancer. Aphtonalso plans to test the product for treatment and prophylaxis ofrectal cancer. Next in line for clinical testing in 1994 is GastrinImmunogen CPU for the treatment and prophylaxis of chronicpeptic ulcer and esophageal reflux.

The company's other products in preclinical developmentinclude Contraceptive Immunogen (I) CG for female birthcontrol, Contraceptive Immunogen (II) GD for birth control andthe prevention of heat cycles in animals, HRM Immunogen totreat breast, endometrial and prostate cancers andendometriosis and fibroids, and E/E Immunogen for treatmentof endoparasites and ectoparasites.

Aphton has a 1992 agreement with Ciba-Geigy Corp. underwhich Ciba-Geigy is testing Aphton's immunogens fortreatment of parasite infections in animals.

Aphton's stock was down $1 a share on Friday, closing at$25.50 per share.

-- Brenda Sandburg News Editor

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