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Researchers Demonstrate Direct Anti-Tumor Effect of Combretastatin and Show

Data Presented at 17th Annual Meeting of the European Society for Therapeutic 

Radiology and Oncology

 EDINBURGH, Scotland, Sept. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- OXiGENE, Inc. (Nasdaq: OXGN;
SSE: OXGN), an international biopharmaceutical company, announced today that
researchers from University Hospital GHB, KU Leuven, Belgium reported on pre-
clinical data demonstrating that Combretastatin A-4 prodrug (Combretastatin)
had a striking direct anti-tumor effect directed against rat rhabdomyosarcoma
tumors and it was also used to create a hypoxic (low oxygen) environment in
the tumor in which anaerobic bacteria flourished. Data on Combretastatin, a
vascular targeting agent being developed by OXiGENE, was presented at the 17th
Annual Meeting of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology
(ESTRO).

Willy Landuyt, Ph.D., and his colleagues from the Department of Experimental
Radiology/Oncology at University Hospital are investigating a model of genetic
therapy for tumor drug targeting that utilizes anaerobic bacteria to deliver
recombinant proteins capable of converting safe prodrugs into cytotoxic drugs
specifically to a tumor site.  The bacteria, which are injected into the body
with the aim of causing bacterial proliferation specifically in the tumor --
but no where else -- can only thrive in a state of hypoxia, or decreased
oxygen.  Dr. Landuyt reported that a single dose of 25 mg/kg Combretastatin
injected into rats with rhabdomyosarcoma tumors caused massive shutdown of
tumor blood vessels, successfully inducing hypoxia within tumors of varying
size and allowing anaerobic bacteria to proliferate within the tumors.  The
Combretastatin-induced hypoxia will be used to further test this model and to
potentially develop the anaerobic vector for use in targeted gene therapies.

"We are very excited about Combretastatin's ability to shut down blood flow to
tumors, which resulted in the hypoxic state needed to allow anaerobic bacteria
to flourish specifically at the tumor site," says Dr. Landuyt.  "The use of
Combretastatin will enable us to advance anaerobic bacteria as a targeted
vector for gene therapy, for which investigations are in progress. In
addition, the anti-tumor effect of Combretastatin observed in our study speaks
to the impressive action of this particular compound, and the promise it holds
as a powerful anti-cancer agent."

Combretastatin is the first in a new class of tumor vascular targeting drugs
that are intended to selectively attack and destroy tumor-specific blood
vessels formed by angiogenesis, resulting in a massive, rapid and irreversible
shutdown of these blood vessels while leaving normal vasculature unharmed.
OXiGENE plans to clinically develop Combretastatin as a stand-alone therapy,
which could be used in combination with other therapies.  Phase I/II studies
of Combretastatin in patients with advanced stage cancers in the U.S. and
Europe are scheduled for the second half of 1998.

OXiGENE is an international biopharmaceutical company developing a portfolio
of innovative products to combat cancer and other major diseases. The Company
currently has four products in clinical development, including Neu-
Sensamide(TM), being tested as a radiosensitizer in Phase II and III studies
in patients with non-small cell lung cancer and in a Phase I study in patients
with glioblastoma; OXi-104 (declopramide), being tested as a chemosensitizer
in Phase I/II studies in patients with advanced stage cancers; Cordycepin,
which is in a Phase I/II study in patients with TdT-positive leukemia; and
Combretastatin A-4 prodrug, a tumor vascular targeting agent expected to enter
Phase I/II studies in the second half of 1998.

This press release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and
uncertainties that may cause the Company's (OXiGENE's) actual results or
outcomes to be materially different from those anticipated and discussed in
this press release.  Factors that may cause such a difference include, but are
not limited to, those risks and uncertainties associated with the regulatory
approval of the Company's proprietary drugs, and other risks included in the
Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K and in the Company's other filings with
the Securities and Exchange Commission during the past 12 months.

SOURCE  OXiGENE, Inc.

CO:  OXiGENE, Inc.

ST:  Scotland

IN:  MTC

SU:

09/23/98 10:01 EDT http://www.prnewswire.com

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