Immunex Corp. (NASDAQ:IMNX) on Tuesday received U.S.patent No. 5,078,996 for use of GM-CSF to stimulate anti-canceractivity in immune cells.

The Seattle company's Leukine granulocyte macrophage colonystimulating factor won Food and Drug Administration approvallast March for use in patients receiving bone marrowtransplants after treatment of certain cancers. Last week it wascleared as therapy to reconstitute white blood cells in patientswhose marrow transplants have failed.

Immunex spokeswoman Valoree Dowell told BioWorld that thenext FDA filing will be for approval of the stimulating factor asa chemotherapy adjunct.

Phase II trials for that indication have been completed. Resultspresented last May showed that combining GM-CSF withchemotherapy resulted in less suppression of the marrow and ahigher response rate to the chemotherapy, said Don Stark,director of marketing.

The patent arises from research published in 1986 in whichImmunex scientists described how GM-CSF can directly activatewhite blood cells to destroy tumor cells.

Clinical studies are examining its use in infectious diseases and,in conjunction with AZT, for AIDS, as well as in cancer, saidDowell.

Immunex stock closed Tuesday at $60.75, down $1.75.

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