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Immune System Therapeutics Limited Announces New Australian Drug Holds Hope of Major Breakthrough in Treating Terminal Blood Cancers


4/20/2009 10:22:16 AM

SYDNEY, April 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Australian medical research company Immune System Therapeutics Ltd (IST) has launched a clinical trial to test its breakthrough treatment for terminal blood cancers.

IST has genetically engineered an antibody drug that binds specifically to a target protein found on the surface of some blood cancer cells. Laboratory studies, using cells taken from patients with a type of blood cancer called multiple myeloma, have shown that the antibody works with the human immune system to induce death of the cancer cells. It is anticipated that the antibody will potentially reduce the number of cancerous cells in multiple myeloma patients and improve patient health and wellbeing.

IST has commenced a Phase 1 trial in patients with multiple myeloma and to date six patients have been treated at The Alfred Hospital in Melbourne under the supervision of Dr. Andrew Spencer. Results so far indicate that the antibody has no side effects and final results are expected later this year.

IST's Director of Clinical Development, Dr. Rosanne Dunn, said in order to maintain the recruitment momentum, the Company is seeking to enroll another nine multiple myeloma patients with the kappa form of the disease to be treated over the next few months.

"We are very pleased that the antibody drug is performing as expected with patients suffering no adverse effects. Although this is very rare in cancer treatment it is an indication that the antibody specifically targets cancer cells and not normal cells," she said.

IST's CEO, Mr. Alan Liddle, said multiple myeloma is a very debilitating terminal disease, with an estimated patient population of over 100,000 worldwide.

He said IST is undertaking further pre-clinical work on other blood cancers and diseases that are associated with the same target and could potentially be treated with the same antibody drug.

"If we continue to be successful in the current multiple myeloma trial, we expect to be able to move into other types of blood cancer in the coming year," Mr. Liddle said.

CONTACT: Dr. Rosanne Dunn, +61-2-9514-4060, or Alan Liddle,
+61-2-9514-7437, both of Immune System Therapeutics

Web site: http://www.istl.com.au/



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