Promising New Drug Uses Antibody Targeted Chemotherapy To Fight Leukemia

December 07, 1998

Scientists presented data here today at the 40th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH), demonstrating how a breakthrough new experimental compound, known as CMA-676, uses an antibody connected to chemotherapy molecules to help patients fight a virulent and often fatal form of cancer - acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). The data appeared to confirm that this novel treatment method -- "antibody-targeted chemotherapy" -- shows promising efficacy and a more tolerable side effect profile than current chemotherapy treatments.

AML is a life-threatening disease in which certain white blood cells become cancerous and rapidly replace and destroy normal bone marrow and blood cells. AML is among the most serious forms of adult leukemia, with a relatively high fatality rate. Most patients require intensive chemotherapy to achieve complete remission, and some also must undergo bone marrow transplants. Up to half of patients with AML, even after such intensive treatment, have residual leukemic cells or experience a relapse.

Because current chemotherapy drugs to treat AML are non-specific - harming good as well as bad cells - patients who are receiving standard chemotherapy become very sick. Researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, in collaboration with scientists from thirteen leading leukemia centers including, University of Chicago Medical Center, MD Anderson Cancer Center and The University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, are working with Wyeth-Ayerst Research and Celltech PLC to study CMA-676, an antibody-drug conjugate that delivers treatment directly to the leukemia cells.

The antibody is engineered to carry just a few molecules of a new and extremely potent chemotherapy agent - from the calicheamicin family -- to selectively destroy leukemic blast cells. This approach may spare primary and vital bone marrow cells that are responsible for regenerating normal blood cells once the leukemia cells are destroyed.

A Phase I study of patients with advanced AML demonstrated early efficacy and defined the appropriate dosing regimen for Phase II studies. Promising data are now emerging from the current pivotal Phase II trial in the U.S. that involves patients following relapse after initial AML chemotherapy. A preliminary analysis of these data show that CMA-676 given alone produces a remission rate of approximately 40 percent - a rate comparable to that of standard combination chemotherapy regimens. These data also show that CMA-676 has other important advantages.

"The side effects are mild compared to standard chemotherapy," says Eric Sievers, M.D., of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. "Also, the treatment did not produce some of the more common chemotherapy-induced side effects."

Standard combination chemotherapy treatment produces significant major organ damage, and sores both in the mouth and in the intestinal tract (frequent sources for opportunistic infections). CMA-676 treatment does not produce these effects. As with all standard chemotherapy treatments, CMA-676 produces a temporary suppression of bone marrow and blood cell counts.

CMA-676 is administered as a single agent, in contrast with chemotherapy regimens that involve multiple drugs that increase the likelihood of adverse side effects and drug-drug interactions. It is administered in two IV infusions fourteen days apart, and many patients received it on an outpatient basis.

Similar studies of the new treatment are underway throughout Europe and Canada.
-end-
For information about Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, contact: Douglas Petkus, 610-971-4980.



Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Related Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

New blood cancer treatment works by selectively interfering with cancer cell signalling
University of Alberta scientists have identified the mechanism of action behind a new type of precision cancer drug for blood cancers that is set for human trials, according to research published in Nature Communications.

UCI researchers uncover cancer cell vulnerabilities; may lead to better cancer therapies
A new University of California, Irvine-led study reveals a protein responsible for genetic changes resulting in a variety of cancers, may also be the key to more effective, targeted cancer therapy.

Breast cancer treatment costs highest among young women with metastic cancer
In a fight for their lives, young women, age 18-44, spend double the amount of older women to survive metastatic breast cancer, according to a large statewide study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.

More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.

New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.

American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.

Read More: Cancer News and Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.