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Monoclonal Antibody Has Promising Activity in Phase II Clinical Trial for Advanced Colon Cancer

PHILADELPHIA (May 30, 2003) — A monoclonal antibody called ABX-EGF shows anti-cancer activity in patients with advanced colorectal cancer and is well-tolerated. That is the result of a phase II clinical trial with ABX-EGF presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting in a poster discussion on May 31, 2003, beginning at 1:30 p.m. E.T.

Despite recent advances, metastatic colorectal cancer cannot be cured with current treatments. Researchers believe the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) protein found on the surface of some colorectal cancer cells is involved in the growth of colorectal cancer. Therapy that is aimed at blocking this growth factor receptor may be an effective way to treat patients with the disease. ABX-EGF is a manufactured antibody directed against the EGF receptor. (ABX-EGF is developed by Amgen Corporation in partnership with Abgenix, Inc.)

"This study demonstrates that ABX-EGF has promising activity against advanced colorectal cancer and can be administered safely," explains Neal J. Meropol, MD, director of the gastrointestinal cancer program at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, Pa., and principal investigator of the multi-center trial. The data from the study are available in the ASCO's Meeting Proceedings.

At the time of this planned interim analysis, 40 patients were treated and are evaluable for response in the Phase II study. All had advanced colorectal cancers that were resistant to a fluoropyrimidine (5-fluorouracil or capecitabine) and irinotecan or oxaliplatin, or both. ABX-EGF was administered intravenously once a week. The preliminary analysis shows 22 patients had stable disease and four patients had partial responses.

Cancer centers in addition to Fox Chase that participated in the study include Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.; UCLA School of Medicine, Los Angeles, Calif.; Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.; Cancer Therapy and Research Center, San Antonio, Tex.; and Amgen, Thousand Oaks, Calif.

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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