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THE FIRST clinical trial of an immunotoxin that is genetically engineered to target a variety of common solid tumors is under way at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Bethesda, Md. The phase I trial, which began in April, involves patients with breast or colon cancers that do not respond to conventional therapies.
Ira Pastan, MD, chief of the NCI's Laboratory of Molecular Biology and coinventor of the immunotoxin, described the development of this new type of anticancer agent at a conference in Chicago, Ill. The conference, DNA: The Double Helix— Forty Years: Perspective and Prospective, was cosponsored by The New York (NY) Academy of Sciences, The University of Illinois at Chicago, and Green College, Oxford University, England.
So far only seven of the 20 to 30 patients Pastan hopes to enroll in the trial have been treated with a protocol for determining the toxic effects of his experimental drug, B3-LysPE38.
Skolnick AA. First Immunotoxin Therapy for Many Common Solid Tumors Enters Phase I Clinical Trial. JAMA. 1993;270(19):2280. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510190030006