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According to the results of two studies presented during the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the addition of the drug Telcyta (TLK286) to standard chemotherapy shows promise for the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related deaths in the United States and Europe. NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer and arises from the tissues of the lung. Under most circumstances, NSCLC is not curable. Current treatments include surgery and chemotherapy. Chemotherapy is often prescribed in the treatment of NSCLC and is designed to reduce or limit the growth of cancer cells. Telcyta is a new drug that is considered a “prodrug.” A prodrug is a precursor of the actual drug and becomes an active agent when converted by metabolic processes. In this case, Telycyta is converted into an active chemotherapy that causes cell death by an enzyme that is expressed by many human cancers, particularly NSCLC.

In the first study, researchers evaluated Telcyta in combination with cisplatin, a standard chemotherapy drug given for NSCLC, as initial treatment for advanced NSCLC. Participants included 22 patient treated with Telcyta and cisplatin. Of these 22, eight achieved partial responses to treatment (36%) and 11 patients achieved stabilized disease (86%). In the second study, 13 patients were treated with Telcyta in addition to carboplatin and Taxol®, a standard drug regimen used to treat NSCLC. Objective responses were achieved in 62% of patients and disease stabilization occurred in 92% of patients. The addition of Telcyta to chemotherapy was well tolerated in terms of side effects and the benefits seemed to extend to all subgroups of advanced forms of NSCLC.

Researchers concluded that the addition of Telcyta shows promise for the treatment of advanced NSCLC; however, longer follow-up is needed to determine the possible long-term benefits for survival. Further studies are underway to evaluate Telcyta for the treatment of NSCLC and the potential for improving long-term outcomes.

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Burris H, Edelman M, Stewart D, et al. Phase II dose-ranging study of TLK286 a novel glutathione analog prodrug, in combination with cisplatin as first-line treatment in locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Proceedings from the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. May 2005. Abstract #7126,

Telik. Telik Quarterly Conference Call. Available at: . Accessed May 2005..

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