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Phase 3 Trial of Ranpirnase Failed to Meet Statistical Significance of Survival in Unresectable Malignant Mesothelioma

SOMERSET, N.J., May 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Alfacell Corporation (Nasdaq: ACEL - News) today announced that the preliminary statistical analysis of data from its confirmatory Phase IIIb clinical trial of its lead compound, ONCONASE (ranpirnase), did not meet statistical significance for the primary endpoint of survival in unresectable malignant mesothelioma (UMM). However, a statistically significant improvement in survival was seen in the treatment of UMM patients who failed one prior chemotherapy regimen. Alfacell plans to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of this patient population, which represents a currently unmet medical need.

The preliminary results are based on 320 evaluable events that occurred in the clinical trial out of a total of 428 patients randomized. The trial was designed to show a statistically significant improvement in overall survival (p Statistically significant results were achieved in evaluable UMM patients (N=122) who failed a prior chemotherapy regimen before entering this clinical trial. Patients who received ONCONASE plus doxorubicin experienced a MST of 10.5 months compared with 8.7 months for those patients who received doxorubicin (unadjusted log rank p=0.016).

"I am pleased that we have reached this important milestone for both Alfacell and ONCONASE," said Kuslima Shogen, Alfacell's chief executive officer. "We are deeply appreciative of the cancer patients and clinical investigators who participated in this important trial."

Based on the preliminary statistical analysis of the data, Alfacell will continue with the planned submission of the remaining components of the ONCONASE rolling NDA. Pending completion of the analysis of the data and further discussions with the FDA, the company currently estimates that the NDA submission will be completed by the end of calendar year 2008.

About ONCONASE®
ONCONASE is a first-in-class product candidate based on Alfacell's proprietary ribonuclease (RNase) technology. A natural protein isolated from the leopard frog, ONCONASE has been shown in the laboratory and clinic to target cancer cells while sparing normal cells. ONCONASE triggers apoptosis, the natural death of cells, via multiple molecular mechanisms of action.

About Malignant Mesothelioma
Malignant mesothelioma is a cancer that originates in the mesothelium -- the tissue that surrounds different organs in the body. Pleural mesothelioma, which occurs in the lining of the walls of the lungs, is the most common form, accounting for about 80 percent of all cases. Another 15 to 20 percent of the cases are peritoneal mesothelioma (in the abdominal cavity). Pericardial mesothelioma, in the tissue around the heart, is extremely rare.

There are over 15,000 new cases of malignant mesothelioma diagnosed each year worldwide, including an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 per year in the in the United States. Approximately 75 percent of all cases are the result of exposure to asbestos. Symptoms of malignant mesothelioma may not be present until 20 to 40 years after the initial exposure to asbestos.

Source: Alfacell Corporation

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