Promising MicroMet Cancer Treatment Pushes Stock Higher
The U.S.-based company Micromet announced in Berlin Monday a successful clinical study of a drug designed to treat leukemia. The Micromet cancer treatment showed success in 13 of 16 patients in its level-2 clinical study. The announcement pushed company shares from $1.05 to averaging more than $6.00 per share during Monday trading as of the time of this article. The Micromet cancer treatment could be a major breakthrough for the treatment of leukemia patients in remission.
The Micromet cancer treatment is the antibody blinatumomab. The antibody involves activating the body's T cells to find and destroy cancer cells. T cells belong to a group of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and are a key part of the body's immune system.
Patients in the clinical trial had previously undergone chemotherapy and were in complete remission at the time they received blinatumomab. As is the case sometimes following chemotherapy and subsequent remission, dangerous levels of cancer cells still reside within the patient's bone marrow. Previous studies have indicated these higher levels significantly harm a patient's prognosis as compared with those without significant levels. All the patients involved in the Micromet cancer treatment trial had these significant levels.
An estimated 250,000 people in the United States are currently diagnosed with leukemia. Though the average age at diagnosis is 67, individuals of all age are susceptible. The Micromet cancer treatment is designed for patients diagnosed with the form acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL). Approximately 5,000 new cases of ALL are diagnosed annually in the United States. This successful clinical study brings an early sign of hope to those suffering from this terrible condition.
In many cases cancer treatment drugs are not tolerated well by patients. Extreme nausea, fatigue, and soreness are just some of the symptoms often associated with chemotherapy and radiation. The patients in the Micromet cancer treatment study tolerated the antibody introduction well, though caution is advised since the study group involved only 16 cases. The company is now in talks with federal regulators to set up the next phase of clinical study which company leaders hope will begin at the first of next year.
The Micromet cancer treatment is currently being tested by the company itself. MedImmune, a division of British-based AstraZeneca PLC, had originally signed a research partnership deal with Micromet in 2003. Earlier this year MedImmune sold its share of rights to blinatumomab back to Micromet after deciding to pursue research with a different antibody treatment. While years away from having an actual drug on the market, the Micromet cancer treatment shows promising developments in the fight against a disease that kills more than 20,000 Americans every year.