Geron sees anticancer activity in lab study

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MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Biotechnology company Geron Corp. said Tuesday its developing stem-cell technology inhibited tumor activity and reduced tumor size in a laboratory study focusing on the most common form of brain cancer.

The company, citing a study authored by collaborators at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, said its drug candidate imetelstat specifically inhibited the activity of the brain cancer, glioblastoma.

In the study, tumors were implanted into mice and imetelstat inhibited 60 percent to 70 percent of the tumors in up to five days.

Geron said the data is being published in the Jan. 1, 2010 issue of Clinical Cancer Research. Imetelstat is currently in six Phase I clinical studies, including breast and lung cancer. The company said it plans to move the drug candidate into several Phase II clinical trials later in 2010.

Geron has been developing stem cell-based therapies for about a decade. In January of 2009, it became the first company to receive Food and Drug Administration approval to conduct early-stage clinical trials on a stem-cell based therapy, aimed at treating severe spinal cord injuries. In August the company said a human clinical trial of that embryonic stem cell product, called GRNOPC1, would be delayed because some of the animals treated with the injection developed microscopic spinal cysts.

Shares of Geron fell 25 cents, or 4 percent, to $5.97 in morning trading. The stock has traded between $3.67 and $9.24 over the last 52 weeks.