NeoRx Corp. said that the FDA approved for clinical testing ofOncoPurge, a proprietary product designed to eliminate tumorcells from the bone marrow of cancer patients who requireautologous bone marrow transplantation.

The product consists of NeoRx's NR-LU-10 antibody attached topseudomonas exotoxin, a highly potent protein toxin, saidSeattle-based NeoRx.

The Phase I trial will use bone marrow harvested from patientswith breast cancer who are scheduled to receive high-dosechemotherapy, it said. OncoPurge is then used to kill the tumorcells in the harvested bone marrow before it is returned to thepatient to replace the damaged bone marrow followingchemotherapy.

The toxin conjugate has been found in in vitro studies to killtumor cells selectively while sparing normal marrow cells, saidPaul Abrams, NeoRx's president and chief executive officer.

Investigators at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centerand the Virginia Mason Medical Center, both in Seattle arecollaborating on the study.

Of the approximately 150,000 new cases of breast cancerdiagnosed annually in the U.S., about 50,000 cases are found tobe advanced, the company said. A high percentage of thesehave tumor cells in their bone marrow, precluding aggressivetreatment.

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