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Harvesting Stem Cells for Transplant in Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma Patients Is Still Possible After Treatment with Bexxar

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New York, NY (May 19, 2002) A physician from Weill Cornell Medical College reported to a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncologists (ASCO) in Orlando, FL, today that, in 13 of 16 patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma who were treated with an experimental monoclonal antibody called Bexxar, it was still possible to collect an adequate supply of blood stem cells for potential use in a transplant in case the patient relapsed.

Dr. Tsiporah Shore, Associate Director of the Bone Marrow and Stem Cell Transplant Program at Weill Cornell, explained that Bexxar (I131 tositumomab) is being tested as a treatment for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Bexxar is a monoclonal antibodyan antibody specifically targeted against the antigens of that disease. However, because Bexxar is linked to a radioactive molecule, there has been a concern that exposure to Bexxar “might damage the body’s supply of stem cells, which could be needed for a transplant if the patient relapsed,” according to Dr. Shore.

What Dr. Shore found was that, in 13 of 16 patients undergoing a clinical trial of Bexxar at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital’s Weill Cornell Medical Center, a harvesting of stem cells from the blood produced enough stem cells for these patients to have a transplant. “The prior use of Bexxar does not preclude adequate stem cell collection for autologous [self-donated] stem cell transplantation in non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” Dr. Shore said. “This allows the patients who relapse after Bexxar the option to proceed to transplant, whereas, before, it was uncertain if this could ever be done.”

Bexxar is manufactured by Corixa Corp., and it has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Corixa Corp. helped create Dr. Shore’s poster but is not a sponsor of her study. Her co-authors are Drs. John Leonard, Michael Schuster, and Morton Coleman of Weill Cornell, and Dr. Ruthee-Lu Bayer, formerly of Weill Cornell and now at North Shore University Hospital, Long Island, New York.