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Geron Skyrockets on Bone Marrow Cancer Treatment Trial

Geron says patients who had poor outcomes with previous treatments experienced several clinical benefits after treatment with imetelstat.

Geron  (GERN) - Get Report was surging Friday after the biopharma reported the results of a phase 2 clinical study evaluating imetelstat as a treatment for myelofibrosis, a rare type of bone marrow cancer.

Shares of the Foster City, Calif. company were soaring 42.2% to $2. The stock has jumped 26.7% year to date.

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Patients in the phase 2 study who had dismal outcomes with previous treatments experienced several clinical benefits after treatment with imetelstat, including symptom response and potential improvement in overall survival, according to John Mascarenhas, associate professor of medicine at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and lead author of the paper.

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In addition, Mascarenhas said, the reductions in key driver mutations of the disease that were also correlated to clinical benefits suggest disease-modifying activity of imetelstat by targeting the underlying myelofibrosis malignant clones, which differentiates imetelstat from other therapeutic agents currently in development for MF."

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"Imetelstat is a novel telomerase inhibition approach that may alter the course of the disease in patients with myelofibrosis. We look forward to confirming these results in our ongoing IMpactMF Phase 3 clinical trial in refractory MF," Aleksandra Rizo, Geron’s chief medical officer, said in a statement.

IMbark Phase 2 clinical trial tested two imetelstat doses and the 9.4 mg/kg dose every three weeks demonstrated clinical benefits in symptom response rate, with an acceptable safety profile for this poor-risk JAKi relapsed/refractory MF patient population. 

Myelofibrosis, a type of myeloproliferative neoplasm, is a chronic blood cancer in which abnormal or malignant precursor cells in the bone marrow proliferate rapidly, causing scar tissue, or fibrosis, to form.