NEW YORK, Jan. 8, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Bone marrow transplants are a $1.3 billion market and the fastest-growing hospital procedure in the U.S. They are the only potential cure for many blood cancers such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in older patients. The procedure is technically called hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and can be either a bone marrow transplant (BMT) or transplant of blood stem cells isolated from peripheral blood (PBSC). In either case, it involves transplanting cells capable of restoring normal bone marrow function into a patient.
An increasing number of HSCT patients are over age 55, but many in this group who need it are ruled ineligible. This is because the high-dose chemotherapy traditionally preceding HSCT—standard therapy for younger patients—is often deemed too harsh even for healthy looking older people. Indeed, in certain indications, less than 10 percent of those 55+ survive more than a year after conventional HSCT.
Since more than half of AML patients are over 65 years old, new tactics are needed. For example, what if a patient's existing bone marrow could be "prepared" prior to the transplant in a way that eliminated the need for high-dose chemotherapy? This promising approach is being pursued by an innovative New York City-based biotech company, Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Actinium's lead compound, Iomab™-B, has been successfully harnessed as a "myeloconditioning" agent in Phase 1/2 trials involving more than 250 patients including cases of incurable blood cancers such as AML resistant to available therapies. It has demonstrated the ability to prepare such patients for bone marrow transplants when no other treatment was indicated. The targeting part of Iomab™-B is a monoclonal antibody that targets CD45, an antigen widely expressed on white blood cells but not on other tissues.
Very significantly, treatment with Iomab™-B prepares a patient for bone marrow transplant in only 10 days, compared to approximately six weeks required with traditional care—a potentially vital difference in the face of a fast-evolving cancer.
"The only potentially curative treatment option for older AML patients is bone marrow transplant, but the majority of patients over age 55 are ineligible for conventional care due to health reasons and/or severity of their disease," says Kaushik J. Dave, Ph.D., President and CEO of Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. "We believe Iomab™-B offers a positive step toward their continued treatment. Almost all patients are eligible, and preliminary studies indicate their survival rates are significantly higher as a result. It also can help prepare older patients for bone marrow treatment who have survived chemo but whose AML either was not cured or returned."
On the strength of results showing its potential in Phase 1/2 trials, the company is poised to begin a Phase 3 trial during 2014. The primary endpoint will be the rate of durable complete remission among the treated patients. A series of physician-led trials involving Iomab™-B is also ongoing.
For more information, visit www.actiniumpharmaceuticals.com, who paid for the writing and dissemination of this release.
Contact: Laura Radocaj, Dian Griesel Int'l. 212.825.3210
SOURCE Actinium Pharmaceuticals, Inc.