US cancer physicians explore new approach to help older patients undergoing hematopoietic stem cell transplant

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When stem cell transplant first became part of standard treatment for certain cancers and blood diseases twenty years ago, individuals older than 60 were rarely considered for the procedure. Today, age is no longer a barrier to this potentially life-saving therapy - today most patients affected by blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) needing this treatment, are over 60 years old. A new approach is being investigated to help these older patients who are undergoing these types of treatments to achieve better outcomes.

Dr. Hillard Lazarus and other cancer physicians across the US are preparing for an upcoming Phase III study investigating the potential of Iomab-B (Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.) in hematopoietic stem cell transplant (often referred to as bone marrow transplant). The drug called Iomab-B is a radioimmunoconjugate consisting of BC8, a novel murine monoclonal antibody coupled with an iodine-131 radioisotope. BC8 has been developed by Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to target CD45, a pan-leukocytic antigen widely expressed on white blood cells.

Researchers at Actinium found that the antigen makes BC8 potentially useful in targeting white blood cells in preparation for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in a number of blood cancer indications, including acute myeloid leukemia (AML), chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), Hodgkin's disease (HD), Non-Hodgkin lymphomas (NHL) and multiple myeloma (MM). When labeled with radioactive isotopes, BC8 carries radioactivity directly to the site of cancerous growth and bone marrow while avoiding effects of radiation on most healthy tissues.

Dr. Lazarus can discuss the following:
•Challenges in treating older relapsed/refractory patients
•Explain limitations on current care
•How does Iomab-B work?
•What have earlier studies for the drug demonstrated?
•What are its benefits for potential for overall survival/quality of life?
•Next steps for trials using Iomab-B


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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