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Adverse Events, Deaths, Halt Enrollment in Pfizer Lung Cancer Drug Trial

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Adverse events, including deaths, have prompted Pfizer Inc. to stop enrolling subjects in a clinical trial for  the experimental lung cancer drug, figitumumab.

The figitumumab trial was a Phase II, or late stage, study.  It had begun in March 2008, and was to have lasted until 2011. It was supposed to involve over 800 patients.  Some of the patients were given figitumumab,  along with paclitaxel and carboplatin, while others received paclitaxel and carboplatin only.

While enrollment of new patients has been halted, patients already enrolled may continue their treatment in accordance with the trial design and in consultation with their doctors, the Journal said.  A separate study, which tests figitumumab with the drug Tarceva, continues to enroll new patients.

Figitumumab is known as a IGF-1R inhibitor,  a class of drugs which block a substance in the body known as insulin-like growth factor.  Such drugs are biologics, and are made from living cells.  According to The Wall Street Journal, Merck & Co., Eli Lilly & Co. and Biogen Idec Inc. are all developing similar medications.

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