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UPDATE 1-Peregrine Pharma lung cancer trial shows promise

* Lung cancer drug improves progression-free-survival rate

* Shares up 14 pct in premarket trade

Oct 5 (Reuters) - Peregrine Pharmaceuticals Inc PPHM.O said a combination of its experimental cancer treatment with chemotherapy improved progression-free-survival in lung cancer patients as compared to chemotherapy alone in a mid-stage trial.

The trial is testing the overall response rate to Peregrine’s bavituximab -- a monoclonal antibody -- in combination with chemotherapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer.

Monoclonal antibodies are tailor-made proteins that can detect the proteins attached to cancer cells and be used to block their growth.

An analysis from a 21-patient cohort of the trial showed the median progression-free-survival for patients receiving bavituximab and chemotherapy was 6.5 months, compared to a survival rate of 4.2 months to 4.5 months for those receiving only chemotherapy.

Peregrine also said that it completed enrolling the total of 49 patients planned for the study.

Lung cancer kills about 1.2 million people a year and is the top cause of cancer death globally.

Shares of the company were up 14 percent to $0.80 in premarket trade. They closed at $0.70 Friday on Nasdaq. (Reporting by Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan)

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