November 1, 2002
The Chiron Corporation, manufacturer of the drug interleukin-2 (commonly called IL-2), has announced that it is pulling out of a large study of that drug called SILCAAT.
In this study, some HIV positive volunteers received standard therapy with highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) while others received a combination of HAART and injections of IL-2. The reason IL-2 is being tested is that regular injections of this drug can raise levels of important immune cells called CD4+ cells. When levels of these key cells fall, HIV positive people can develop life-threatening complications. People with HIV/AIDS who respond to HAART usually develop high levels of these cells. As a result, their risk of developing AIDS-related illnesses is greatly reduced.
Chiron is currently discussing what to do next with the researchers on SILCAAT's scientific committee. The researchers, led by professor Yves Levy in Paris, as well as his colleagues in Australia, Canada, the European Union and the United States, are interested in keeping the study running.
Another international trial of IL-2 called ESPRIT, with some Canadian volunteers, will continue, as this trial is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
For further information about SILCAAT in Canada call 1.800.CHIRON8 (244- 7668) or in the U.S. call 1.866.874.3153 and follow the voice prompts.