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Fox Chase Cancer Center Testing Anti-Angiogenesis Drug

PHILADELPHIA -- Patients with multiple myeloma whose disease has returned or has not responded to prior treatments may be eligible for a phase II clinical trial evaluating an investigational drug. The drug SU5416 is specifically designed to block angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels, which is necessary for cancer growth.

An estimated 13,700 Americans will be diagnosed with multiple myeloma this year. About 11,400 Americans are expected to die of the disease. Multiple myeloma is cancer of the plasma cells, which are an important part of the immune system. It multiplies and spreads throughout the bone marrow.

"The drug SU5416 is designed to cut off the supply of blood to the tumor," explained Mitchell Smith, M.D., Ph.D, director of the lymphoma service. "It is not a chemotherapy and we expect it will be less toxic than the standard chemotherapy treatment for myeloma."

Smith added, "While chemotherapy is often effective in treating myeloma, it rarely, if ever, cures the disease. Since SU5416 works in a totally different way than usual chemotherapy, we hope it will be active even in patients with multiple myeloma whose cancer is not responding to the current treatment."

Although researchers do not know exactly what causes multiple myeloma, age appears to be a significant risk factor. The average age at diagnosis is about 70. Only 2 percent of cases are diagnosed in people younger than 40. In addition, multiple myeloma is about twice as common among African Americans as white Americans, but the reason is not known.

Unfortunately, multiple myeloma does not typically cause symptoms until after it has reached an advanced stage and can be difficult to detect early. Symptoms may include bone pain, osteoporosis, bone fractures, anemia, as well as severe pain, numbness and/or weakness of arms and legs.

To learn more about this study please call Fox Chase Cancer Center at 1-888-FOX CHASE (1-888-369-2427).

Fox Chase Cancer Center, one of the nation's first comprehensive cancer centers designated by the National Cancer Institute in 1974, conducts basic and clinical research; programs of prevention, detection and treatment of cancer; and community outreach. For more information about Fox Chase activities, visit the Center's web site at:

Fox Chase Cancer Center, part of the Temple University Health System, is one of the leading cancer research and treatment centers in the United States. Founded in 1904 in Philadelphia as one of the nation’s first cancer hospitals, Fox Chase was also among the first institutions to be designated a National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center in 1974. Fox Chase researchers have won the highest awards in their fields, including two Nobel Prizes. Fox Chase physicians are also routinely recognized in national rankings, and the Center’s nursing program has received the Magnet recognition for excellence four consecutive times. Today, Fox Chase conducts a broad array of nationally competitive basic, translational, and clinical research, with special programs in cancer prevention, detection, survivorship, and community outreach.  For more information, call 1-888-FOX CHASE or (1-888-369-2427).

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