Madison company achieves 94 percent tumor reduction in clinical trial

Cellectar Biosciences has achieved 94 percent tumor reduction in a patient taking part in a clinical trial for the company’s cancer treatment.

The Madison-based pharmaceutical firm’s product is called CLR 131. It’s used to precisely deliver radiation to malignant tumor cells while avoiding healthy cells that would be damaged by the treatment.

The drug is currently being used in a Phase 2 clinical study at 10 cancer centers around the United States for patients with a host of different blood-related cancers. These include multiple myeloma as well as several types of leukemia and lymphoma, which affect the body’s systems for fighting infection and creating new blood cells.

The patient in question is a 67-year-old female diagnosed with Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia, a rare cancer which starts in the white blood cells. Afflicted individuals have bone marrow that’s producing far too many white blood cells, leading to a build-up of proteins in the blood that causes problems.

Before enrolling in the clinical study, the patient had been diagnosed and received two lines of multi-drug therapy.  Once in the study, she received a small dose of the CLR 131 medicine over a 30-minute period.

After 52 days, a CT scan showed tumor volume had been reduced by 50 percent. This was classified as a partial response, according to a release from the company.

A second dose of the medicine was given on day 123, and a CT scan taken 64 days after that showed a 94 percent reduction in tumor burden “and complete resolution in four of five targeted tumor masses.” The patient’s progress continues to be monitored.

“In addition to a robust clinical response, we were also happy to see resolution of symptoms that affected the patient’s quality of life, including shortness of breath,” said Sikander Ailawadhi, the treating physician for the patient in question.

The National Cancer Institute has awarded Cellectar with a $2 million grant to fund the trial. About 80 individuals are taking part, and the study should wrap up by March 2019.

See more study details:

–By Alex Moe