Pfizer and Genentech present positive cancer drug data at meeting

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A pair of experimental cancer drugs from Pfizer, and Genentech's colon cancer drug Avastin, showed promising results during trials, according to data presented this weekend at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Pfizer's Sutent, which works in part by starving tumors of their blood, was acquired during the company's purchase of Pharmacia two years ago.
The once-a-day pill proved effective in stopping growth of a rare stomach cancer called GIST (gastrointestinal stromal tumor) in 385 patients who had developed resistance to the Novartis blockbuster cancer drug Gleevec, according to information presented at the meeting.
Pfizer also announced strong results for AG13736, which was acquired along with Warner-Lambert in 2000. In a trial the drug achieved a 30 percent reduction in tumor size in 46 percent of 52 patients with late-stage kidney cancer.
Genentec's Avastin, currently approved for colon cancer, improved lung cancer survival when added to standard combination chemotherapy, according to research presented over the weekend. Avastin also showed promising results in the treatment of breast cancer.
Other highlights from the meeting included:
 *Trial findings from Bayer and Onyx Pharmaceuticals for sorafenib that confirmed interim Phase III results in which survival was doubled in patients with advanced renal cell carcinoma.
*Trial data finding that Tarceva, the Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals drug currently approved for locally advanced or metastatic non-small cell lung cancer after at least one prior drug has failed, helped advanced cancer patients live longer.
*Interim analysis of phase III data of the Novartis and Schering's PTK/ZK or vatalanib, which failed to show a statistically significant survival benefit.
ASCO's annual meeting, being held in Orlando, Fla., began on May 13 and ends tomorrow.
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