Chiron Corp. was expected today to release Phase II data of itsinterleukin-2 product, Proleukin, showing that 26.4 percent of the 34advanced ovarian cancer patients participating in the trialexperienced a complete or partial response to the drug.Six of those responding to the treatment are still alive after more thanfive years and all of them are disease free, clinical investigators said.Larry Kurtz, spokesman for Emeryville, Calif.-based Chiron, said thetrial data is being presented at the American Society of ClinicalOncology meeting in Los Angeles.Kurtz said a Phase III study of Proleukin is slated to begin thissummer for treatment of ovarian cancer. The drug, a recombinantform of the natural IL-2 cytokine, already is approved by the FDAfor metastatic kidney cancer.Women participating in the ovarian cancer trials were patients whohad not responded to other forms of treatment and whose prognosiswas poor. Seven of the 34 patients experienced complete responsesand two exhibited partial responses.The investigators concluded, "IL-2 demonstrates impressive anti-tumor activity for heavily-pretreated ovarian cancer with a significantnumber of durable responses."Many patients who did not respond to the treatments survived lessthan one year.Kurtz said Proleukin's effect on ovarian cancer appears to be similarto the drug's performance against kidney cancer. Not all patientsrespond to the treatment, but if they do, their cancerous tumorsdisappear.If the Phase III trials in ovarian cancer are successful, Kurtz saidChiron will apply to the FDA to expand the label for Proleukin. -Charles Craig

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