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NEW CANCER TRIALS WILL STUDY IMPACT OF HUMAN STEM CELLS

 NEW CANCER TRIALS WILL STUDY IMPACT OF HUMAN STEM CELLS
 DEERFIELD, Ill., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Baxter announced today that


it will begin clinical trials of a promising new bone marrow therapy this spring at Johns Hopkins Oncology Center. The therapy may allow for more aggressive cancer treatment and enhance patient recovery in patients with lymphoma, a common cancer.
 Patients will be injected with a purified version of their own bone marrow to counteract the devastating -- and otherwise lethal -- effects of aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. The study will be led by Curt Civin, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and oncology at The Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
 "Aggressive radiation and chemotherapy destroy cancer cells, but at the same time also destroy the patient's bone marrow," says Civin.
 "Since bone marrow is the source of stem and progenitor cells -- the building blocks of the entire immune and blood systems -- the therapies that eliminate the cancer also weaken the blood and immune systems to the point where death caused by uncontrolled bleeding or infection is more likely than death caused by the tumor. We have been searching for years to find better ways to counteract this destruction, while making cancer patients tumor-free."
 Civin's research focuses on the identification and isolation of stem and progenitor cells, which make up only one percent of all human bone marrow. The trial will evaluate a new bone marrow purification process, which includes utilization of a monoclonal antibody, anti-CD34, to identify and purify both stem and progenitor cells found in human bone marrow. The processes are covered by patents owned by Johns Hopkins and exclusively licensed to Becton Dickinson and Company. In 1990, Becton Dickinson exclusively licensed this technology to Baxter for therapeutic uses. The technology involved is the basis for future work in human gene therapy and has applications outside bone marrow transplantation.
 "Technology that employs stem and progenitor cells to reconstitute the immune and hematopoietic systems allows clinicians to utilize more aggressive therapy and with fewer side effects," says Civin.
 Wilbur H. Gantz, president of Baxter, says, "We are pleased to announce these trials. Our scientists have worked for more than 18 months with Dr. Civin to bring this important technology out of the laboratory and into the clinical community." In addition, Gantz says, "Baxter is confident that the proprietary position of Dr. Civin's patents and the advanced technical performance of our stem cell selection system will provide a significant competitive advantage in this area. Baxter's Biotech Group will continue to focus on this type of research -- research that strengthens and even redesigns the human immune system. Baxter is positioning itself to become a global leader in the fields of oncology, bone marrow transplantation and specific cell selection."
 In 1984, Civin and colleagues published a paper in the Journal of Immunology showing that stem and progenitor cells selectively express the CD34 antigen as detected by his novel monoclonal antibody.
 "The key finding of the Journal of Immunology study showed for the first time that an antibody -- an anti-CD34 antibody -- would recognize human stem and progenitor cells, but neither normal mature nor malignant tumor cells, allowing us to rescue patients' immune systems from marrow- lethal radiation and/or chemotherapy by the reintroduction of pure stem and progenitor cells to the bone marrow," says Civin.
 In 1987, 1990 and 1991, Johns Hopkins received United States patents covering Civin's discoveries. Cumulatively, these patents cover anti- CD34 antibodies, populations of cells that express the CD34 antigen and processes by which these cells are extracted from human bone marrow and blood. Johns Hopkins and Becton Dickinson have pending patent applications covering the transplantation of populations of cells expressing the CD34 antigen and an application covering a subset of the CD34 cell population, which is enriched for the stem cell. Becton Dickinson, in 1990, exclusively licensed these patents and applications to Baxter for therapeutic uses.
 In the United States, more than 11,000 bone marrow transplants are performed annually. Recent FDA approvals of factors that stimulate the growth of selected progenitor cells should increase the use of bone marrow transplant therapy in the treatment of cancer and other diseases.
 Baxter and Civin's group plan to study the use of this technology in the treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a cancer common to many AIDS patients, and breast cancer, which kills more than 44,000 women each year in the United States alone.
 Baxter Healthcare Corporation is principal U.S. operating subsidiary of Baxter International Inc. Baxter, headquartered in Deerfield, Ill., is the leading manufacturer and marketer of health-care products, systems and services worldwide.
 -0- 1/29/92
 /CONTACT: Geoffrey Fenton of Baxter, 708-948-3436/
 (BAX) CO: Baxter Healthcare Corp.; Baxter International Inc. ST: Illinois IN: MTC SU: SM -- NY015 -- 4597 01/29/92 09:25 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 29, 1992
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