Mesothelioma Drug Study Shows Promise While Another Drug Company Finds Its Future Foggy

A drug developed by the Proteolix, Inc., pharmaceutical company, carfilzomib, has shown promising results in its first round of clinical trials. Carfilzomib acts as a proteasome inhibitor, which targets specific aspects of the cancer without doing excessive harm to noncancerous cells. Fourteen patients in the first set of trial with solid tumors whose condition had previously failed to be improved by at least two other drugs, including at least one mesothelioma patient, were treated safely and some showed a stabilization of their cancer. Carfilzomib appears to be a safe and well-tolerated drug following its first round of testing. The most prevalent side effects of the drugs included fatigue, nausea, headache, diarrhea, and constipation.

For most patients, the side effects were either temporary, or they were successfully reversed. The most disturbing side effect of carfilzomib — peripheral neuropathy, or slight tingling and numbness in the extremities — was not severe enough in any of the patients to warrant a change or stoppage of their dosage of carfilzomib. Following the first set of clinical trials, carfilzomib began Phase II trials in May 2008, targeting solid tumors in non-small cell lung, ovarian, small cell lung, and renal cell cancers. It is also being studied in a second phase as a combination therapy with other chemotherapies. More information about these continuing clinical trials with carfilzomib can be seen at http://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Alfacell, the maker of ONCONASE, a successfully tested mesothelioma drug, included an audit option in its Annual Report filed on October 14, 2008. As a Nasdaq listed company, Alfacell was required to announce its audit option per Nasdaq Marketplace Rule 4350 (b)(1)(B). Any company receiving an audit option must announce to the public that an auditor has found sufficient evidence that there is doubt about the company being able to continue operations. The audit option announcement does not change its Annual Report for the fiscal year that ended on July 31st, 2008.