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Drug that sends radiation to tumors up for review (Reuters Securities) ...~~~ to kill tumors....... sending radiation throughout the body intravenously, the treatment could seek and kill several tumor sites at once....... company`s only other marketed product is cancer drug ???iadel Wafer, which is implanted in the brain to dissolve and release chemotherapy, for prolonging survival and maintaining function in patients... - Sep 07 9:41 AM ET


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Website: http://biz.yahoo.com/rf/010907/n05287162_1.html

Posted on: 09/07/2001

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Friday September 7, 9:42 am Eastern Time

Drug that sends radiation to tumors up for review

By Lisa Richwine

WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - An intravenous drug that carries radiation into the body on a search-and-destroy mission for cancer cells faces review from U.S. advisers on Tuesday as a possible lymphoma treatment.

IDEC Pharmaceuticals Corp.'s (NasdaqNM:IDPH - news) experimental drug, Zevalin, could be the first treatment approved to use "radioimmunotherapy" to kill tumors.

The drug looks for certain chemicals on cancer cells. When it finds them, it attaches to the cells and delivers a dose of lethal radiation.

If eventually approved by the FDA, Zevalin would offer several advantages over radiation now common in cancer treatment, which is delivered via an external beam, said IDEC Chairman, Chief Executive and President William Rastetter.

By sending radiation throughout the body intravenously, the treatment could seek and kill several tumor sites at once. External radiation, which requires focusing on one tumor at a time, can also can damage healthy cells.

Zevalin "will seek out virtually any tumor in the body so it's easier to get it where you want," Rastetter told Reuters.

Another plus, he said, is that patients could take Zevalin in two treatments administered over eight days, much shorter than five to six months of chemotherapy.

An FDA advisory panel on Tuesday will consider whether Zevalin's benefits outweigh its risks, which include a possible reduction of infection-fighting white blood cells.

The panel is expected to vote on whether Zevalin should be approved for treating patients with certain types of Fe???homa who have failed other therapies. The FDA usually follows its panels' advice.

Rastetter said Zev???sizable product" for San Diego-based IDEC, but he would not speculate on the sales potential. The company's only other marketed product is cancer drug ???iadel Wafer, which is implanted in the brain to dissolve and release chemotherapy, for prolonging survival and maintaining function in patients with certain brain tumors.

On Monday, the panel is set to review Matrix Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (NasdaqNM:MATX - news) Intradose Injectable Gel for treating patients with head and neck cancer who are not considered curable with s Io??? +1 202 310-5691, fax +1 202 898-8383, washington.equities.newsroom@reuters.com))

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