January 9, 2013
Biotech firm Cell Therapeutics (NASDAQ: CTIC ) announced Wednesday that it has begun enrollment of patients in a phase 3 trial of its myelofibrosis drug pacritinib.
The PERSIST-1 trial for pacritinib is expected by the company to enroll 270 patients. Myelofibrosis patients in pacritinib's phase 2 trial showed clinical benefits and tolerated the drug well, according to Cell Therapeutics, making the PERSIST-1 trial a key step up for the drug's progress.
Myelofibrosis is estimated to afflict around 30,000 individuals in the United States. The disease, a chronic bone marrow disorder, can cause an enlarged spleen, anemia, and extreme fatigue, among other symptoms.
Company Chief Medical Officer Dr. Steven E. Benner talked about the trial in a company press release, saying, "Data from earlier studies of pacritinib showed a clinically meaningful improvement in symptoms without suppression of platelets or red blood cells. We believe that pacritinib has the potential to offer an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for myelofibrosis patients, and are pleased to be initiating the Phase 3 PERSIST-1 clinical trial."