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An interferon gets FDA nod.

An interteron gets FDA nod

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last week approved the marketing of bacterially manufactured human alpha-interferon, making it the first member of the interferon family to be commercially available in the United States. Though it was approved only for use against hairy cell leukemia, a rare white blood cell cancer, physicians can, on their own, prescribe FDA-approved drugs for any condition.

Estimates on the incidence of hairy cell leukemia vary, but there are an estimated 1,000 patients, primarily middle-aged men, in the United States. In international trials on more than 2,000 patients, the drug caused remission in about 90 percent of the cases, though its exact mechanism of action is unknown. Without alpha-interferon, hairy cell leukemia usually kills within several years of diagnosis. Both companies that manufacture the drug have expressed optimism that it will also prove useful against other cancers of the same cell.
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Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 14, 1986
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