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Antigenics Claims Skin Cancer Advances

NEW YORK (AP) _ Biotech company Antigenics Inc. said Monday that preliminary data from a late-stage clinical trial suggests that its Oncophage cancer vaccine extended the survival of advanced skin cancer patients by about 8 months compared with standard therapies.

Antigenics shares rose $1.27, or 25.4 percent, to $6.28 in premarket activity. Shares have traded between $4.51 and $11.38 over the past 52 weeks.

However, the company cautioned that the results have yet to achieve statistical significance and that a final analysis of the data will be complete in the first quarter of 2006.

In the Phase III study, researchers treated patients with either Oncophage or with standard treatment, including chemotherapy, biological agents, surgery or a combination. The 322 patients in the trial all had advanced, or Stage IV, skin cancer that had spread to other parts of the body.

Patients treated with Oncophage lived an average of 20.9 months compared to the average 12.8 months for patients given standard treatment. The average survival rate for patients with Stage IV skin cancer is about 7 months.

Oncophage is a personalized cancer treatment that uses tissue from a malignant tumor to direct a patient's immune system to attack the cancer.
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