Cetus Corp.'s effort to win approval to market interleukin-2(IL-2) to treat kidney cancer in the United Kingdom -- the onlyEuropean Community country where it is not approved -- maybe affected by a battle in the British Parliament.

Last year the Committee on Safety of Medicines (CSM) refusedto recommend a license for IL-2, saying that Cetus had notproduced enough information on patients treated with a singlemethod of administration and with IL-2 alone.

The Emeryville, Calif., company has now collected thisinformation and will submit an appeal in April.

But a flap erupted this month when Maureen Kendrick, akidney cancer patient at Christie Hospital in Manchester, wasdenied IL-2 prescribed by the consulting physician. Kendrickwas being treated under the British National Health System(NHS), which carries the major share of a patient's medicalexpenses.

Kendrick's Member of Parliament, Keith Bradley (Labor Party)told the House of Commons that Christie Hospital refused tosupply IL-2 because its NHS budget for drugs was overspent.But William Waldegrave, secretary of health, said IL-2 wasdenied because of doubts about its effectiveness.

Theoretically, the comments made by Waldegrave, one ofBritain's top health officials, should not affect the CSM appeal,said David Briscoe, marketing manager of EuroCetus UK Ltd.,Cetus' European marketing group. "But we are concerned," hesaid. "It really depends on how much politics goes on behindthe scenes."

EuroCetus had intended to charge about $4,000 for three weeksof treatment, but has since provided IL-2 to Kendrick free.

-- Rachel Nowak BioWorld Staff

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.