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Affymax(R) Receives $10 Million Milestone Payment From Takeda Based on Progress in Hematide(TM) Clinical Program
By Dross at 2007-02-01 22:27


Affymax, Inc. (NASDAQ:AFFY) , a biopharmaceutical company, today announced that it has received a $10 million development milestone payment from Takeda Pharmaceutical Company as part of the companies' exclusive global agreement to develop and commercialize Hematide(TM), Affymax's lead product candidate, for the treatment of anemia. The milestone was achieved with the completion of Phase 1 clinical testing of Hematide in normal healthy volunteers in Japan. "Our collaboration with Takeda is off to a great start with the successful completion of this initial clinical development milestone," said Arlene M. Morris, Affymax's president and chief executive officer. "We look forward to continued progress in the Hematide development program as we move towards initiation of our Phase III clinical trials in chronic kidney disease and initiation of a Phase IIb clinical trial in oncology. The terms of our strategic alliance with this important global partner allow us to play a significant role in the development and commercialization of Hematide." Affymax and Takeda are collaborating on the development of Hematide and will co-commercialize the product in the United States. Takeda holds an exclusive license to develop and commercialize Hematide outside the United States, including Japan. Affymax leads the renal development program and commercialization in the U.S., while Takeda leads the oncology development and commercialization program worldwide and the renal development and commercialization ex-U.S. Under the terms of the collaboration, Affymax received $122 million in upfront license fees and $10 million from the sale of equity. Affymax is eligible to receive development and regulatory milestone payments of up to an additional $345 million and commercial milestone payments upon successful commercialization of Hematide of up to $150 million.

read more | 964 reads

Reducing Drug Development Costs and Sharing more Pharmaceutical Data
By HCat at 2007-02-01 21:48

    BOSTON, Feb. 1 (AScribe Newswire) -- It now costs more than $800 million to develop a new drug. But what if pharmaceutical companies had a way to predict which experimental drugs will ultimately get FDA approval, giving them the confidence to invest money in them, and which drugs will ultimately fail, allowing them to cut their losses early?


    In the February issue of Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, researchers from the Children's Hospital Boston Informatics Program (CHIP) present a forecasting model that may increase the efficiency of drug R&D and save hundreds of millions of dollars per new drug. They also argue that more data sharing by the drug industry - particularly of "negative" data - would greatly improve the accuracy of forecasting and benefit industry and patients alike, allowing more medical discoveries to be brought to the bedside.

read more | 3165 reads

Reasons Why Cancer Drug Discovery is so Difficult
By HCat at 2007-01-31 23:56

    In the perspective article in Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, the authors discuss the challenges facing drug discovery as intricate and numerous. They present a broad picture of drug discovery as three parts pertaining to targets, drugs, and patients. Targets for drug discovery are broken down into two classes, each of which is either essential or non-essential. Essential targets for drug discovery are targets that have essential function within all cells or a specific cell type. That means that the cell has to have this function operating or it will die. Non-essential targets are targets whose function can be lost and the cell will still survive. This concept can also be applied in terms of tissues as a target such as in breast tissue which is considered a non-essential tissue for life. Drugs that inhibit or block essential functions are likely to have narrow therapeutic windows. That is the drugs beneficial dose range is likely to be small before it becomes toxic such as 5-FUterm. 5-FU relies on the principle that cancer cells should be faster growing since they are growing out of control. 5-FU inhibits DNA synthesis, an essential function. Slow growing cells are not as affected as fast growing cells from 5-FU. This therapeutic windowterm is narrow and the consequences or side effectsterm of the narrow window is that 5-FU affects some of the naturally fast growing cells in the body, which is why hair loss is a common side-effect in 5-FU treatment.

read more | 3980 reads

Prostate cancer patients see high survival rates with seed implants
By Dross at 2007-01-31 22:15


More than ninety percent of men who receive appropriate radiation dose levels with permanent radiation seed implants to treat their prostate cancer are cured of their cancer eight years after diagnosis, according to a study released in the February 1 issue of the International Journal for Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics, the official journal of ASTRO.


Seed implants have become a widely-accepted treatment option for early stage prostate cancer because it is very effective at curing the cancer, is minimally invasive and often spares patients from side effectsterm of other treatments, such as impotence and incontinence. The seeds, similar in size to a grain of rice, contain a radiation dose that, once implanted, delivers concentrated radiation to the prostate, sparing surrounding organs and tissue. Doctors in this study evaluated the long-term results of permanent seed implants in men with early stage prostate cancer. Nearly 2,700 men were studied at 11 institutions in the United States over eight years. The radioactive seeds were administered with the aid of ultrasound-guided techniques to accurately place the seeds in the prostate gland. The patients received the seed implants as the sole treatment for prostate cancer with no additional chemotherapyterm or radiation therapy.

read more | 2 comments | 2753 reads

Pharmion Announces FDA Acceptance of IND for Oral Azacitidine
By Dross at 2007-01-31 20:19

Azacitidine, while causing a low cell count situation in which you will be more susceptible to infection, is very effective at putting patients into partial remissions. Depending on the chromosomal abnormalities you have, you should either be thankful you are in a partial remission or proceed directly to a stem cell therapy. Leave a comment in the forum for more information.


Pharmion Corporation (NASDAQ:PHRM) today announced that the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the Company's oral formulation of azacitidine is now active following its acceptance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The Company submitted the IND for oral azacitidine in December 2006.

read more | 2761 reads

Esophageal cancer rates climb with obesity; U-M study finds esophagectomy safe in obese patients
By Dross at 2007-01-31 07:30

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The rapidly climbing obesity rates in the United States have created a higher risk of esophageal cancer linked to reflux disease. And this has some surgeons wondering if a currently popular procedure to remove the esophagus is as safe in obese patients.

According to a new study at the University of Michigan Health System, obese patients who underwent a procedure called transhiatal esophagectomy primarily for esophageal cancer had outcomes similar to their lean counterparts.

?The type of patient who currently develops esophageal cancer has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Esophageal cancer used to be primarily squamous cell carcinomaterm found in people who drank alcohol and smoked excessively. In association with the horrendous epidemic of obesity in this country, we have seen a 350 percent increase of adenocarcinomaterm over the last 30 years. This is related to more gastroesophageal reflux and Barrett?s esophagus in these patients,? says Mark Orringer, M.D., John Alexander Distinguished Professor of Surgery at the U-M Medical School.

read more | 1391 reads

Hormone drug type makes survival difference in advanced breast cancer
By Dross at 2007-01-31 05:03


Aromatase inhibitors, a type of hormone therapy used to treat advanced breast cancer in postmenopausal women, result in a small but significant increase in overall survival when compared to other hormone treatments, according to a new systematic review of studies. In addition, aromatase inhibitors -- drugs known as Arimidex, Aromasin and Femara -- are less likely to cause blood clots and vaginal bleeding than other hormone treatments, said review co-author Judith Bliss of the Institute of Cancer Research in London. The review analyzed 30 studies involving the treatment of advanced breast cancer, encompassing more than 10,000 postmenopausal women. Bliss and colleagues were surprised at how few of the reviewed studies presented data on overall survival for women taking aromatase inhibitors.

read more | 2429 reads

UCLA Researchers Discover Genes Linked to Lymphoma, Opening Way for New Targeted Drugs
By Dross at 2007-01-31 00:43


Lymphomaterm is a blood cancer that affects more than 60,000 Americans each year.


Researchers at The University of California Los Angeles have identified genes that when inactivated help cause B-cell non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).


These genetic defects may also be involved in promoting the formation of other cancers since they can inactivate normal tumor-suppressing gene activities in a range of cell types. The team led by Michael Teitell, M.D., Ph.D., and funded by The Leukemiaterm & Lymphoma Society, used genetically engineered mice to accurately mimic human B-cell cancers. They had previously published research in which they identified frequent genetic abnormalities in cancer cells from NHL patients -- namely defects in the TCL1 gene -- and showed that TCL1 abnormalities can cause NHL in mice when accompanied by additional genetic defects. Now, they have found some of these cancer collaborators. Teitell's team used a powerful genetic technique called "restriction landmark genomic scanning" (RLGS) to find genes that work with abnormal TCL1 to promote lymphoma formation.

read more | 3840 reads

Sunesis Pharmaceuticals Reports Positive Initial Results From Phase 2 Small Cell Lung Cancer Trial With SNS-595
By Dross at 2007-01-30 23:37


Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced that the company will advance the small-cell lung cancer trial in treatment-sensitive patients to Stage 2. The company reported initial results from the first stages of two Phase 2 clinical trials of SNS-595, a novel cell-cycle inhibitor, in first- line relapsed/refractory small cell and non-small cell lung cancers. Anti- tumor activity was observed, including evidence of stable disease, minor responses and partial responses reported in one arm of the small cell lung cancer study, and minor and mixed responses and stable disease in the non- small cell lung cancer trial. Sunesis initiated the Phase 2 studies of SNS-595 in small cell lung cancer and non-small cell lung cancer in 2006 to evaluate the compound's activity as a single agent in the second-line treatment setting. Both clinical trials utilized a two-stage design, enabling an interim assessment of clinical activity in order to determine next steps for the compound's evaluation in each tumor indication. All patients received doses of 48 mg/m2 every three weeks, the maximum-tolerated dose identified in Phase 1 clinical trials. Consistent with prior findings, SNS-595 was generally well-tolerated. Sunesis' Phase 2 small cell lung cancer clinical trial included two arms of relapsed or refractory patients -- treatment sensitive and treatment refractory. With nine of eleven evaluable patients in the treatment-sensitive arm of the trial having stable disease or objective responses by the end of two cycles of treatment, the clinical results have exceeded the pre-specified requirement of at least two partial or complete responses in the first 20 evaluable patients for advancing to Stage 2. Based on the interim data analysis reported today, Sunesis plans to continue Phase 2 clinical evaluation of SNS-595 in treatment-sensitive small cell lung cancer patients who had previously responded to first-line therapy, but subsequently relapsed after more than three months.

read more | 2727 reads

Threshold Starts Phase II Clinical Trial for Patients with Platinum-Resitant Ovarian Cancer
By HCat at 2007-01-30 13:07

    REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan 29, 2007 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ -- Threshold Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: THLD), today announced that it has initiated patient enrollment for a Phase 2 clinical trial evaluating the dosing, safety and activity of glufosfamide in patients with platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.


    "There are very few drugs that will effectively treat platinum-resistant disease," said David S. Alberts, M.D., Director of the Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, and a clinical investigator for the trial. "We are extremely interested in this potential therapy as it may provide an additional treatment option for women with ovarian cancer who are platinum-resistant."

read more | 1784 reads

Influence of Race on Attitudes Toward Clinical Trial Enrollment in Radiation Oncology Patients
By HCat at 2007-01-30 08:34

    A statistical analysis of a questionnaire from 166 patients that evaluated demographics and attitudes toward clinical trials was conducted by Philadelphia doctors in 2 radiation oncology clinics. The questionnaire revealed that White versus non-White patients were more likely to gather information about clinical trials from the Internet (30.6% versus 11.3%, P = 0.007), and were more likely to use physicians as a source of information on clinical trials (50.0% versus 34.0%, P = 0.05). Non-White patients more likely to obtain information on clinical trials from other patients (24.5% versus 12.0%, P = 0.04), and more non-White patients believed they had been treated in a clinical trial without their knowledge (21.6% versus 9.3%, P = 0.032). More non-Whites needed a >50% chance of benefiting from a trial (64.4% versus 45.0%, P = 0.03) before enrolling. However, the study showed that both White and non-Whites were equally interested in learning about clinical trials (84.3% versus 84.9%, P = 0.92), and there was no statistical differences in outlook towards potential toxicities associated with treatment from a clinical trial. There was also no significant difference in the rate of previous or current trial enrollment (21.3% versus 34.0%, P = 0.08).

read more | 1650 reads

Important mechanism identified in the formation of blood vessels
By Dross at 2007-01-29 21:43

Tumors cannot grow to more than 1-2mm without new blood vessels. Antibodies against VEGFterm such as Avastinterm have been shown to be effective in slowing the growth of tumors by inhibiting the proliferation of blood vessels. Now a new target has been found. By combining drugs such as Avastin with Erbituxterm or Vectibixterm with a drug against this target we will be closer to extending the lives of many.


All tissues, sick and healthy alike, need a blood supply to survive and grow. The key to many medical problems, like preventing tumour development, is therefore to obstruct the spread of the blood vessels. Research scientists at Karolinska Institutet have now discovered a heretofore unknown mechanism for how the body links together its blood vessels.

read more | 1 comment | 2021 reads

Annual study finds top hospitals have 28 percent lower mortality rate
By Dross at 2007-01-29 21:37

As  if we needed a better reason to start cancerfocus, here we have proof that better hospitals = better educated doctors = increased chance of survival. Use this site to educate not only yourself but your physician as well. If you have had bad (or good) care at a hospital please comment to this article and tell us about it.


Patients treated at top-rated hospitals nationwide have nearly a one-third better chance of surviving, on average, than those admitted to all other hospitals, according to a study released today by HealthGrades, the leading independent healthcare ratings company. Patients who undergo surgery at these high-performing hospitals also have an average five percent lower risk of complications during their stay, researchers found.

read more | 697 reads

Phase III Trial of Galiximab for Follicular Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma In Combination with Rituximab
By HCat at 2007-01-29 10:25

     29 Jan 2007 - Biogen Idec announced that it has initiated a Phase III randomized, double-blind study of an investigational anti-CD80 monoclonal antibodyterm, galiximab, for patients with lymphomaterm. The trial will compare treatment with galiximab in combination with rituximabtermterm (RITUXAN®) to rituximab in combination with placebo in patients with follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) that has relapsed or failed to respond to initial therapy.


read more | 2289 reads

New Cervical Cancer Vaccine Closer to Approval.
By raja at 2007-01-27 06:00

Cervical cancer is a form of cancer associated with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV comprises a diverse group of viruses that have about a 100 members. About 30 of these viruses are sexually transmitted. HPV infections increase the risk of cervical cancer and almost all forms of cervical cancers are coincident with an HPV infection. HPV related cervical cancer is the second leading type of cancer in women right after breast cancer even though its rates have been dropping over the past few decades due to improved early detection by the Pap smear test.

read more | 1574 reads


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