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TARGETED GENETICS CORP.: HIV-KILLING CELLS USED AS EXPERIMENTAL GENE THERAPY

 SEATTLE, Oct. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Targeted Genetics Corp. (TGC) today announced the start of a gene therapy trial using genetically modified cells that specifically recognize and destroy HIV-infected cells. The trial is a potential treatment for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, and will evaluate the safety and antiviral effects of HIV-specific cytotoxic "killer" T cells in participants who are HIV-positive.
 The trial is a collaboration between scientists at Targeted Genetics and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, and is being sponsored TGC.
 In a treatment approach called adoptive immunotherapy, particpants' T cells that specifically kill HIV-infected cells will be isolated and expanded in tissue culture by investigators at the Hutchinson Center, and then modified to contain a special suicide gene (HyTK) developed by scientist at TGC. The genetically modified cells will then be expanded to several billion cells and reinfused into participants to enhance their immune system's ability to fight off symptoms of HIV.
 "The HyTK (pronounced "high tech") gene is both a tracking device and a safety switch," said Barrie J. Carter, Ph.D, TGC executive vice president and director, research and development. "It will facilitate studies of genetically modified cells' survival and migration after cell transfer, and provide a means of eliminating the modified cells if toxic side effects occur."
 Drs. Philip D. Greenberg, and Stanley R. Riddell at the Hutchinson Center are directing the study. "People who are HIV-positive face continuous depletion of killer T cells which they need to fight infection," said Greenberg, a world leader in the development of adoptive immunotherapy. "With this approach, we hope to decrease or eliminate stores of latent HIV, increase the body's ability to fight the virus, and perhaps shut down the virus producing factory."
 The Recombinant DNA Advisory Committee (RAC) of the National Institutes of Health approved the procedure for 15 participants in September. All 15 participants have already been identified.
 Participants will receive a maximum of four infusions at progressively increasing cell doses. Infusions will be administered at two week intervals. Study investigators will follow participants for 13 months to determine the effects of the treatment and to monitor safety.
 The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center is an independent, non-profit research institution dedicated to the development and advances in medical technology to eliminate cancer and other potentially fatal diseases.
 Targeted Genetics Corp. is a leader in the development of integrated gene therapy treatments for acquired and inherited diseases. Primary targets of the company's development program include AIDS, cystic fibrosis, cytomegalovirus and cancer.
 -0- 10/25/93
 /CONTACT: H. Stewart Parker or Alberta L. Garvin of Targeted Genetics, 206-623-7612; or Susan Edmonds of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 206-667-2896/


CO: Targeted Genetics Corp,; Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center ST: Washington IN: MTC SU:

RB-IC -- SE003 -- 6067 10/25/93 06:33 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 25, 1993
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