Cellectar Biosciences, Madison, says it is starting phase-two clinical trials on a compound to treat patients with multiple myeloma and other blood cancers.

As many as 80 patients at up to 15 centers across the U.S. will receive one dose of Cellectar's CLR-131 with the possibility of a second dose about three to six months later. They also will be given dexamethasone -- a corticosteroid used to prevent the release of substances that cause inflammation -- for up to 12 weeks.

Locations of the centers are not being disclosed.

Initial results on the effectiveness of the study are expected in the second half of 2017, the company said.

"The prospect of extending patient survival with a one- or two-dose treatment continues to drive a high sense of urgency for all involved in this study," said Jim Caruso, Cellectar's president and CEO.

The phase-two study will be funded with the help of a $2 million grant from the National Cancer Institute.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.