Immune System Therapeutics Ltd. (ISTL) will conduct a second trial of its patented drug for bone marrow cancer using a $1.8 million grant from the federal government's Commercialisation Australia.

ISTL's MDX1097, which is derived from antibodies, was successful in destroying cancer cells in multiple myeloma patients in phase one of the trial. The drug, which was administered intravenously, also did not cause any side effects to the patients.

In phase two of the trial, multiple doses of the drug will be given to 27 patients at the Alfred Hospital in Melbourne. Dr. Andrew Spencer will be the lead clinician of the trial.

The phase two trial also tests the drug on a second set of more patients overseas and in Australia. If the result is good, the drug will be commercially produced to make it available to the public within five years.

Biologist Rosanne Dunn and immunologist Robert Raison led the team of researchers who developed the MDX1097 at a lab at the University of Technology, Sydney. Dunn, Raison and others formed ISTL in 2001.

MM afflicts mostly 65-year-olds but the number of people in their 50s diagnosed with the disease is increasing. Patients usually live three to five years after diagnosis.