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Northwest Biotherapeutics up on UK study support

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Northwest Biotherapeutics rose Tuesday after the company said the U.K.'s National Institute for Health Research will support a late-stage clinical trial of its experimental treatment for glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain cancer.

THE SPARK: The company said the National Institute for Health Research has deemed the study of the DCVax therapy a priority trial. The agency will provide resources and funding for more staff to speed up the trial, oversee the performance of research sites, and offer other types of operational and financial support.

THE BIG PICTURE: The Bethesda, Md., company is developing several cancer therapies that use its DCVax technology. Northwest Biotherapeutics said the treatments combine cancer-related proteins with the patients' dendritic cells to create an immune response that targets the cancer. Dendritic cells are part of the immune system. They process antigens, or substances the immune system responds to, and present them to other immune cells.

Northwest Biotherapeutics is also running late-stage trials of a prostate cancer therapy and is testing treatments for cancers of the lung, ovaries, liver, head and neck, and pancreas.

SHARE ACTION: The stock gained 3 cents to $3.98 in afternoon trading after rising as much as 16 percent to $4.64 earlier in the session. The shares spiked to a high of $20 in September after Northwest Biotherapeutics said it was talking to medical centers about proceeding with studies of a DCVax treatment for solid tumors. However the stock has lost more than a quarter of its value since the company announced the sale of new shares in December.