Tuesday, Dec 20, 1983

Genentech Begins Human Evaluation of Human Gamma Interferon

South San Francisco, Calif. -- December 20, 1983 --

Genentech, Inc. announced today that it has begun the first U.S. clinical testing of human gamma interferon produced by recombinant DNA technology.

Human clinical evaluations have begun at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Hospital and Tumor Institute in Houston, under the direction of Dr. Jordon U. Gutterman, and will begin shortly at the National Cancer Institute in Frederick, Maryland. These studies will determine human gamma interferon's safety and biological activity in patients with cancer.

A product of recombinant DNA technology, Genentech's gamma interferon offers promise in the treatment of cancer and viral diseases.

Human gamma interferon, also called immune interferon, is part of the body's natural defense system. The protein is so scarce that, until the advent of the recombinant DNA technology, adequate supplies of highly purified material were not available for clinical testing. In 1981, Genentech scientists were the first to use recombinant DNA technology to produce and purify human gamma interferon.

Preclinical studies indicate that gamma interferon may have two types of anti-tumor activity: It appears to directly inhibit the growth of cancer cells and, more than other interferons, appears to stimulate the body's immune system to fight the cancer, such as chemotherapy agents, frequently suppress the immune system.

Gamma interferon also offers potential in the treatment of viral infections by interfering with the replication of viruses. Human clinical evaluation of gamma interferon in the treatment of these disorders will begin in the near future.

Genentech, Inc. is a leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of recombinant DNA products for pharmaceutical, agricultural and industrial chemicals markets. Human gamma interferon will be manufactured and marketed by Genentech in the U.S. under its own label, in conjunction with Genentech Clinical Partners, Ltd., a limited partnership.

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