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DATA FROM IMMUNOGEN'S BONE MARROW PURGING STUDIES WITH ONCOLYSIN M IN CANCER PRESENTED AT IMMUNOTOXINS MEETING

 DATA FROM IMMUNOGEN'S BONE MARROW PURGING STUDIES WITH ONCOLYSIN M
 IN CANCER PRESENTED AT IMMUNOTOXINS MEETING
 CAMBRIDGE, Mass., June 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Phase I/II clinical trials using ImmunoGen, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: IMGN) Oncolysin(R) M indicate that the drug may provide an effective alternative for purging bone marrow of cancer cells. Clinical investigators reported data from these studies at the Third International Symposium on Immunotoxins, held in Orlando, Fla., this past weekend. Oncolysin M is being used in these trials to purge bone marrow as part of bone marrow transplant therapy in patients with acute myelogenous leukemia (AML).
 The studies are being conducted by Denis-Claude Roy, M.D., at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital, Montreal, Canada, and by Jerome Ritz, M.D., at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston. Of 11 patients evaluated, five remain in complete remission, with durations of four to 20 months. Laboratory analysis of the patients' bone marrow provides evidence that disease cells are eliminated. There was no depletion of T cells or B cells in the marrow -- indicating that Oncolysin M specifically targets cancer cells. Also, use of Oncolysin M did not interfere with engraftment of the bone marrow when reintroduced into the patient.
 "Approximately 14,000 new cases of AML will be reported in the United States and Canada this year," noted Dr. Roy. "It is a fast-moving, life-threatening disease with a high rate of relapse following initial chemotherapy, making it a good setting for intervention using bone marrow transplant." In autologous bone marrow transplant, a patient's bone marrow is removed, and the patient is given an aggressive regimen of chemotherapy and radiation. The marrow is then reintroduced. Since AML originates in the marrow, it also must be purged of leukemic cells for the procedure to be effective.
 Oncolysin M is one of the Oncolysin portfolio of immunoconjugates. Each Oncolysin product links a monoclonal antibody to "blocked ricin," ImmunoGen's proprietary form of the powerful plant toxin, ricin. The company's technology for blocking the ricin molecule prevents the binding of ricin to all cells, while maintaining the high potency of whole ricin. The specificity of ImmunoGen's antibodies for target cells enables the company to use its highly toxic compound to eradicate diseased cells, while leaving normal tissue unaffected.
 ImmunoGen, Inc. is a Cambridge-based biotechnology company that develops biopharmaceuticals, primarily for the treatment of cancer. The company produces proprietary toxins, drugs and biologicals conjugated to highly specific monoclonal antibodies which search out and destroy cancer cells. ImmunoGen currently has three Oncolysin products in human clinical trials, and had filed with the U.S. FDA to begin testing of its fourth product.
 -0- 6/22/92
 /CONTACT: Mark Ratner, director of external communications for ImmunoGen, 617-661-9312/
 (IMGN) CO: ImmunoGen, Incorporated ST: Massachusetts IN: MTC SU:


CN -- NE001 -- 2232 06/22/92 08:32 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jun 22, 1992
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