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Phase III trial for new cancer agent

Novartis AG announced on April 11 that phase III trials of a novel cancer agent, which could help over one million patients, have begun
Novartis AG announced on April 11 that phase III trials of a novel cancer agent, which could help over one million patients, have begun.

The US based pharmaceutical company has been developing ASA404 as a tumour-vascular disrupting agent (Tumour-VDA) to treat patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). It reported positive results from phase III studies of ASA404 stating that it offered a survival advantage to patients of more than five months and it is hoped the agent will become a first-line treatment.

Alessandro Riva, executive vice-president and global head of development of Novartis oncology, said: "We look forward to exploring the unique mechanism of action of ASA404 in non-small lung cancer to potentially help the more than one million people who develop lung cancer each year."

The novel cancer agent causes extensive tumour cell death by collapsing blood supply to the cancerous growth area.

About 85 to 95 per cent of all diagnosed lung cancers are the NSCLC form of the disease. Globally, 1.2 million people are diagnosed with lung cancer every year, leading to 921,000 deaths.

Novartis says that ASA404 is one of six oncology compounds that are in development and hopes to register in the within five years.

David Epstein, president and CEO of Novartis oncology, said: "These exciting potential discoveries have the possibility to change medical treatment for patients suffering with many forms of cancer."

11th April 2008

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