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Micromet Inc. said Monday it started mid-stage trial of its most advanced drug candidate, the experimental leukemia treatment blinatumomab.

Micromet is studying the drug as a treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It will test blinatumomab, or MT103, on approximately 65 adults whose cancer has not responded to previous treatment or relapsed after initially successful treatment.

The company said it will measure how many patients achieve complete remission and how many respond to the drug but don't have a full recovery of blood platelets. It also will measure how long patients respond to the drug and their survival during treatment. Micromet plans to finish enrolling patients by the end of 2012.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia affects the blood and bone marrow. It causes abnormal white blood cells to crowd out healthy white and red blood cells and leads to infections, anemia, bleeding, and other side effects. Micromet said about 5,330 cases are diagnosed every year in the U.S. At least 50 percent of acute lymphoblastic leukemia cases relapse after the first treatment, and only 7 percent of patients who relapse live another five years.

Shares of Micromet rose 58 cents, or 11.4 percent, to close Monday at $5.67.

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