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Siteman Offers Clinical Trial of Investigational Drug for Pancreatic Cancer

Nov. 26, 2008 – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a phase I clinical trial of the drug IMP321 in the treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer. The trial is being conducted by surgeon William Hawkins, MD, at the Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine.

IMP321 is an immunopotentiator – an agent that enhances the immune response – that is manufactured by the biopharmaceutical company Immutep. The phase 1 study will enroll patients with advanced pancreatic cancer who either will be given the chemotherapeutic drug gemcitabine alone or gemcitabine with increasing doses of IMP321. Investigators will assess the safety and tolerability of this new chemo-immunotherapy combination. Other points to be studied include the interaction of IMP321 with the body; the ability of the drug to provoke an immune response; and the molecule’s mechanism of action.

“We are very pleased to start this trial, which should provide information about the potency of IMP321,” says Hawkins, an assistant professor in the Section of Hepatobiliary-Pancreatic and Gastrointestinal Surgery at Washington University. “Cancer of the pancreas carries an ominous prognosis, and progress would not be possible without clinical trials like this one.”

Patients interested in joining the prescreening process for participating in the trial should contact Siteman at 314-747-3046 or 877-251-6485.