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Cytheris and CITN Announce Selection of Recombinant Interleukin-7 (CYT107) for Initial Studies at Member Institutions

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Cytheris SA, and the Cancer Immunotherapy Trials Network (CITN), have announced the selection of recombinant human interleukin-7 (CYT107), the investigational multifunctional cytokine under development by Cytheris, as one of the first immunotherapeutic agents proposed for initial clinical trials at network institutions.

The selection was announced following the first meeting of investigators from network institutions recently held in Bethesda, Maryland.

CYT107 was chosen from an initial list of more than 20 potential agents based on reviews conducted at a series of three NCI immunotherapy workshops held between 2007 and 2009 during which participants prioritized agents with a high potential to serve as immunotherapeutic drugs for cancer.

Experienced immunotherapy investigators from the 27 CITN research institutions in the U.S. and Canada will now submit proposals for use of CYT107 as well as other agents that may be made available to the network through partnerships with industry and the National Cancer Institute.

"The selection of CYT107 for study in immunotherapy trials conducted by the outstanding investigators from CITN member sites is a clear recognition of the potential of this cytokine to play an important role in the development of new approaches to the treatment of various cancers," said Michel Morre, DVM, president and CEO of Cytheris.

Morre continued, "We share the desire of all participants in the CITN program that this important NCI-sponsored initiative will lead to significant therapeutic advances that will be of direct and lasting benefit to the large and growing population of cancer patients."

"With the support of the National Cancer Institute, CITN has established a network of top academic immunologists to conduct multicenter research on promising new agents that boost patients' own immune systems to fight their cancer," said principal investigator Martin A. "Mac" Cheever, M.D., a member of the Hutchinson Center's Clinical Research Division and director of CITN.

Cheever continued, "Having selected CYT107 along with other promising molecules for testing in patients, we now look forward to conducting clinical studies that follow a pathway whose ultimate goal is to make effective immunotherapy agents broadly available for treatment of cancer."

CITN will select and prioritize proposals for clinical study regimens based on the following criteria:

• Regimens with clear immunologic endpoints likely to inform the next phases of drug development-specifically, those that prospectively and predictably increase the number of T cells specific for known and defined antigens

• Developing regimens that can be applied in multiple circumstances by multiple investigators

• Providing high-quality immunogenicity and biomarker data that elucidate mechanisms of response or failure and thereby facilitate the design of subsequent trials.