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Cel-Sci: The Multikine Sweet 16

Update: I stand corrected. My apologies. Cel-Sci has enrolled a single patient into its phase III head-and-neck cancer study of Multikine, according to a press release issued on March 29 not by Cel-Sci but by a Mississippi hospital participating in the trial.

That puts the score at 16 Cel-Sci press releases publicizing the start of the Multikine study to one patient enrolled. The original version of this column stated incorrectly that Cel-Sci had not enrolled any patients yet.

VIENNA, Va. ( TheStreet) -- How many press releases does it take to announce the start of a late-stage cancer drug clinical trial?

You'd think a single announcement would suffice, right? Not if you're Cel-Sci (CVM - Get Report) and the drug in question is Multikine. This is a bit hard to believe, but Cel-Sci has issued 16 (!!!) press releases over the past year publicizing or promising the start of the Multikine phase III study in head-and-neck cancer.

Sixteen press releases!

The funniest bit: In the first of these press releases, issued on May 5, 2010, Cel-Sci said the first patient would be enrolled in the Multikine trial by the third quarter 2010. Cel-Sci missed the mark by six months. While Cel-Sci has still not said anything about patient enrollment, a Mississippi hospital announced in late March that it was treating a single patient.

For most drug companies, to "start" a clinical trial means enrolling patients. Not so much for Cel-Sci, apparently.

At this rate, Cel-Sci is on track to issue more press releases about the "start" of the Multikine study than the actual number of patients -- 800 -- expected to finally enroll.

I feel badly for Cel-Sci's PR man Gavin de Windt, who is running out of ways to entice investors with old and irrelevant news. Take today, for instance, Cel-Sci said Taiwan granted "final government approval" to commence the study.

Back on Dec. 12, 2010, however, Cel-Sci told investors that Taiwan had granted "government approval" for the same study. Not the same thing? Really?

Two months before that, on Oct. 12, 2010, Cel-Sci issued a press release heralding the approval of the study by a Taiwanese institutional review board.

India and Russia/Ukraine were also countries receiving the multi-Multikine press release treatment. As I've said before, Cel-Sci is taking investors on an around-the-world tour as it issues press releases on each and every country allowing the Multikine phase III study to proceed -- Russia, Ukraine, Taiwan, Hungary, Mississippi (a state, not a country, I know), India, Canada, Israel.

It takes a village to raise a child but a mini-U.N. to conduct a Multikine phase III study.

But you already knew that. Sixteen times over.

--Written by Adam Feuerstein in Boston.

>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Adam Feuerstein.

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Adam Feuerstein writes regularly for TheStreet. In keeping with company editorial policy, he doesn't own or short individual stocks, although he owns stock in TheStreet. He also doesn't invest in hedge funds or other private investment partnerships. Feuerstein appreciates your feedback; click here to send him an email.

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