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(Reuters) - CytRx Corp said its experimental cancer treatment improved survival rates in untreated soft tissue sarcoma patients without the disease progressing, compared with standard chemotherapy alone, sending the company's shares up as much as 83 percent.
The mid-stage trial tested the therapy, aldoxorubicin, against chemotherapy drug, doxorubicin, in 123 patients every three weeks for up to six cycles.
About 67 percent of patients who received aldoxorubicin showed no disease progression at six months compared with about 36 percent of patients treated with doxorubicin, according to investigators at study sites.
Aldoxorubicin combines the chemotherapeutic agent, doxorubicin, with a linker-molecule that binds to albumin in the blood, allowing for the delivery of higher doses of doxorubicin.
CytRx holds exclusive worldwide rights to the linking technology, which not only enables the delivery of up to a quadruple dose of doxorubicin without increasing its toxicity, but also specifically targets the tumor, Chief Executive Steven Kriegsman said in a conference call.
The treatment was found to be safe and well-tolerated, CytRx said on Wednesday.
These study results validate the company's technology and set it up for development collaborations with other pharmaceutical companies, H.C. Wainwright analyst Andrew Fein told Reuters.
What investors are now looking for are the detailed results of the study, including data on overall survival, quality of life and toxicity, that will be released in the American Society of Clinical Oncology conference in June, he said.
Soft tissue sarcoma (STS) is characterized by cancerous tumors that occur in soft tissues such as muscle, fat, blood vessels and tendons that connect, support and surround other body structures. This form of cancer can occur anywhere in the body at any age.
Aldoxorubicin is currently undergoing development for several indications including Glioblastoma multiforme, Kaposi's sarcoma, and as a treatment for STS patients who have failed to respond to prior therapy.
The treatment has the potential to be used in non small-cell lung cancer and breast and ovarian cancers and the technology can be combined with other chemotherapeutic agents for an even wider range of diseases, Kriegsman said.
Shares of Los Angeles, California-based CytRx hit a 16-month high of $4.38 on Wednesday on the Nasdaq.
The stock was up 55 percent at $3.75 in afternoon trading.
Reporting by Natalie Grover in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Kirti Pandey