Wrapping up its week at the 40th Annual Meeting of theSociety of Nuclear Medicine in Toronto, Immunomedics Inc.announced initial clinical results in a new therapeutic area,Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP) in AIDS patients.
The Morris Plains, N.J., company's imaging agent uses amonoclonal antibody (MAb) fragment against PCP labeled withtechnetium-99m. Preliminary studies show that the agent was87 percent accurate in diagnosing whether PCP was present in15 AIDS patients. For comparison, conventional lung-washingcytology and other imaging methods, including chest X-raysand gallium scans, were also performed.
David Goldenberg, Immunomedics' chairman and president ofthe Garden State Cancer Center, said the agent accuratelyidentified PCP in six of seven patients with the illness, and itsabsence in seven of eight patients.
PCP afflicts up to 80 percent of AIDS patients and is often amajor cause of their severe illness and death. Goldenberg saidthe company plans to expand the trials to see if the diagnosticcould provide a more specific test than current methods thatinvolve examining sputum smears or lung washings.
In another presentation, Immunomedics (NASDAQ:IMMU)showed its agent to detect germ cell cancers, ImmuRAID-AFP,which was 90 percent accurate in detecting germ cell tumors in31 patients with known cancers. These results were correlatedto scans using CT or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) andpathology.
ImmuRAID-AFP, based on a MAb fragment labeled withtechnetium-99m, is in Phase I/II studies and has orphan drugstatus from the FDA.
Results were presented by Donald Podoloff, a professor ofradiology and nuclear medicine at M.D. Anderson Cancer Centerin Houston. He said germ cell cancers are relatively uncommonin the total population, but represent one of the most commonmalignancies in men between the ages of 15 and 35.
"Because this is a potentially curable disease," Podoloff said,"the ability to precisely detect sites of recurrence is veryimportant in patient management," and can distinguish activetumors from post-treatment changes.
He added that no human anti-mouse antibody responses orother adverse reactions were seen.
-- Nancy Garcia Associate Editor
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