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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Eight to Ten Weeks to Live

I missed this one. On November 4th Cell Therapeutics had to halt enrollment in their latest Xyotax clinical trial because of premature deaths among patients taking its experimental cancer drug. The good news is that the deaths did not appear related to any safety problems with Xyotax. There were more deaths in the group receiving Xyotax than another receiving a standard chemotherapy drug.

Here's the crazy part. Most of the deaths have been attributed to disease progression — meaning the advancement of the patient's cancer. The study's patients have advanced lung cancer, with a life expectancy of 8 to 10 weeks.

How much life can be added to a population of people who have 8 to 10 weeks to live. Another statistical gamble has been lost. It could have easily gone the other way. Xyotax has been shown to do nothing. They kept changing the beer and pizza diet and they got burned. But guess what. This isn't the end. Beer and Pizza diets never end!

The company expects to revise the study when it resumes, to focus on women with normal estrogen levels. CTI is claiming earlier Xyotax studies had found a better effect in such women. So if you've got 8 to 10 weeks to live due to lung cancer AND you've got normal estrogen levels, get yourself signed up for this one.

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