According to results recently presented at the Eleventh World Conference on Lung Cancer, the addition of Telcyta™ (TLK286) to standard chemotherapy provides impressive anti-cancer responses as initial therapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). These results were updated from presentations of the 2005 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), held in May 2005.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States and Europe. NSCLC, which arises from the tissues of the lung, is the most common type of lung cancer. 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. Stages IIB and IV NSCLC are advanced stages and refer to cancer that has spread from its site of origin to distant and/or several sites in the body.

Telcyta is a new drug that is considered a “prodrug”-a precursor of the actual drug. It 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.

The first clinical trial included 35 patients with stages IIIB and IV NSCLC who had not received prior therapy. Patients were treated with the standard chemotherapy combination consisting of Paraplatin® (carboplatin) and Taxol® (paclitaxel) with the addition of Telcyta. The overall rate of anti-cancer responses in addition to disease stabilization was nearly complete at 92 percent. Treatment was well tolerated.

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The second clinical trial included 49 patients with stages IIIB and IV NSCLC who were treated with the chemotherapy agent Platinol® (cisplatin) plus Telcyta. The overall rate of anti-cancer responses and disease stabilization almost matched the first trial results at 88 percent. Treatment in this trial was also well tolerated.

The researchers concluded that the addition of Telcyta to standard chemotherapy in the treatment of stages IIIB and IV NSCLC provides high rates of anti-cancer responses and disease stabilization. Future clinical trials are planned to further evaluate Telcyta and directly compare regimens containing Telcyta to standard regimens for the treatment of NSCLC. Patients with advanced NSCLC may wish to speak with their physician regarding their individual risks and benefits of participating in a clinical trial further evaluating Telcyta or other novel therapeutic approaches. Two sources of information regarding ongoing clinical trials are the National Cancer Institute (www.cancer.gov) and www.cancerconsultants.com.

Reference: Telik. Telik reports positive interim phase 2 clinical data from two Telcyta combination regimens in first-line treatment of non-small cell lung cancer. Available at: http://www.telik.com/pr/2005/pr_2005_0706.html. Accessed July 2005.

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