OmcorMed to help pick humans for cancer treatment trial Schering-Plough set to test experimental gene therapy

Medical science

January 15, 1998|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

Gaithersburg-based Oncor-Med Inc. said yesterday that it will collaborate with the Schering-Plough Research Institute in selecting candidates for a human clinical trial of an experimental gene therapy to treat cancer.

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

OncorMed, which provides genetic testing services, will identify people who have a missing or defective gene known as p53. The gene has been identified by scientists as playing a key role in suppressing cancer.

Schering-Plough's p53 gene therapy uses a genetically engineered cold virus to deliver a normal p53 gene to tumor cells.

Schering-Plough said early studies have found that introduction of the gene into a malignant cell where the gene is absent or mutating can suppress the cell's malignancy or result in cell death.

Dr. Robert J. Spiegel, senior vice president of worldwide clinical research at the research institute, said OncorMed's screening of patients would help Schering-Plough sign up appropriate patients for the trials quickly and better understand the significance of the trial results.

The research institute is a research and development arm of Schering-Plough Corp. of Madison, N.J.

Schering-Plough's clinical trials are being conducted internationally on patients with a variety of solid tumors, OncorMed said.

OncorMed said it would also provide other genetic screening services for the studies.

Pub Date: 1/15/98

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