Synergen Inc. of Boulder, Colo., has begun clinical trials ofAntril to treat chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML).

Antril is Synergen's proprietary interleukin-1 receptorantagonist protein (IL-1ra), which is already in Phase I/IIclinical trials for rheumatoid arthritis and Phase II clinicaltrials for sepsis and septic shock.

CML is caused by overgrowth of myeloid white blood cells inthe bone marrow. About 10,000 Americans are diagnosed withthe disease each year. Life expectancy is two to five years.Antril works by blocking IL-1's ability to promote myeloid cellgrowth. IL-1 appears to be a primary inducer of CML cells, andin vitro studies showed that Antril could block growth of suchcells, said company spokesman Kenneth Collins.

Other companies are developing different approaches to treatCML. Seragen Inc.'s IL-2-DT fusion toxin targets diphtheriatoxin to interleukin-2 ( IL-2) receptors on CML cells.ImmunoGen Inc.'s immunotoxins use monoclonal antibodies totarget a modified ricin toxin to leukemic cells. Genta Inc. isevaluating antisense technology. Companies developing CMLdiagnostics include Oncor Inc. and Oncogene Science Inc.

Synergen's stock (NASDAQ: SYGN) closed at $33.25, up 63 cents.-- CTV

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