Cell Therapeutics receives Fast Track Designation for Pixantrone, treatment for aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma

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Cell Therapeutics, Inc. has received fast track designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for pixantrone, a novel anthracenedione, being investigated for the potential treatment of relapsed, aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL).

The FDA granted fast track designation because relapsed aggressive NHL in the third-line or subsequent recurrence is a life threatening disease and responses have been noted in phase 2 trials in patients with relapsed, aggressive NHL. Preliminary experience in phase I/II studies of pixantrone has shown a complete remission rate ranging from 20 percent as a single-agent to 59 percent in a variant of the standard front-line combination therapy CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, and prednisone), where pixantrone replaces doxorubicin. In addition, pixantrone is easier to administer than standard anthracyclines and, to date, has not displayed the same risk of severe cardiac damage.

"The complete remission rates of single-agent pixantrone and in combination with other agents in phase I and phase II clinical studies are quite remarkable. As there are currently no approved therapies for third-line aggressive non-Hodgkin's lymphoma (NHL) we expected to obtain 'fast track' designation for this product," stated Jack W. Singer, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of CTI. "The pivotal trial is well-designed and if successful, the efficacy and cardiac safety profile along with the drug's administration advantages may make pixantrone an important therapeutic for the potential treatment of aggressive NHL."

"Fast track designation for pixantrone is an important step in the development of this product candidate and may help us bring this potentially life-saving drug to patients more quickly," stated James A. Bianco, M.D., President and CEO of CTI.

Pixantrone is presently being studied as a single-agent and in combination in several phase I and II clinical studies for the potential treatment of aggressive or indolent NHL. In the United States, it is estimated that more than 30,000 patients each year receive salvage therapy for salvage NHL (greater-than-or-equal-to third-line) with more than 60,000 patients receiving multi-agent chemotherapy for front-line or second-line treatment of NHL.


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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