Shares of Medarex shot up 17 percent after investigators at the Mayo Clinic say they were startled by the level of success seen in a trial of a monoclonal antibody for prostate cancer. Two of the men with advanced, inoperable cases of prostate cancer are now reported to be cancer free after the drug ipilimumab shrank their tumors to the point that physicians could operate on them. And surgery is rarely an option for patients whose cancer has spread beyond the prostate. Another 20 patients showed improvements and are being monitored.
The results prompted the researchers to plan another trial that will test a higher dose of the drug. "Our surgeons had never seen this happen before and we were really taken by surprise," said Dr. Eugene Kwon. "This is one of the holy grails of prostate cancer research. We've been looking for this for years."
"I had never seen anything like this before. I had a hard time finding the cancer," Dr. Michael Blute told the BBC. "At one point the pathologist (who was working during surgery) asked if we were sending him samples from the same patient."