Cytogen Corp. on Monday said it has started Phase I trials of itsOncoTc NSL380 for imaging non-small cell lung cancer primarytumors and diseased lymph nodes.

The product is a monoclonal antibody fragment attached to thetechnetium-99m radioisotope.

Cytogen (NASDAQ:CYTO) received approval for the trials inOctober, but delayed until it could produce enough wholemonoclonal antibodies to begin trials for an imaging agent forcolorectal cancer, said Robert Maguire, director of clinicalinvestigations.

Cytogen is using MAb fragments for imaging lung cancerbecause they clear more rapidly from background blood poolareas. However, it will use whole antibodies for imaging belowthe human diaphragm because fragments in this region wouldbe cleared to the kidney and bladder, said Maguire.

An estimated 130,000 new cases of non-small cell lung cancerwill have occurred in the United States in 1991, and nearly115,000 people will die from the disease, according to theAmerican Cancer Society.

The Princeton, N.J., company's stock closed at $15.75, up 75cents, on Monday.

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