Biogen Idec, Elan Start First Cancer Trial With Tysabri

Cambridge, MA-based Biogen Idec and its Irish partner, Elan, said today they have started the first clinical trial of Tysabri as a cancer treatment. Tysabri, approved for multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease, is being studied initially in a trial of 12 patients with multiple myeloma, a deadly cancer of the bone marrow. The drug works by blocking the VLA4 protein, which is found on the surface of myeloma cells, the companies said in the statement. Tysabri suffered a setback this summer in multiple sclerosis, when two patients in Europe on the drug were diagnosed with PML, an often-fatal brain infection.

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