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NEW CLASS OF DRUGS TURN OFF INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE; SOLUBLE CYTOKINE RECEPTORS SHOW PROMISE IN REVERSING RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, SEPTIC SHOCK

NEW CLASS OF DRUGS TURN OFF INFLAMMATORY RESPONSE; SOLUBLE CYTOKINE RECEPTORS SHOW PROMISE IN REVERSING RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS, SEPTIC SHOCK
 /ADVANCE/ ANAHEIM, Calif., April 6 /PRNewswire/ -- Results of preclinical studies conducted by scientists at Immunex Corp. (NASDAQ: IMNX) indicate that soluble versions of both TNF receptor and Interleukin-1 (IL-1) receptor turn off inflammatory responses in animal models of arthritis and septic shock. At the 76th meeting of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), Immunex scientist Kendall Mohler, Ph.D., presented data from a study of LPS-induced septic shock in mice in which TNF receptor reduced mortality by 90 percent when compared to placebo controls.
 In a rat model of arthritis, soluble TNF receptor and IL-1 receptor each reduced joint swelling. In addition, when administered in combination these agents dramatically reduced joint swelling to a greater degree than either agent alone.
 Cytokines, or immune system proteins, are critical elements of normal immune function. They bind to specific cell-surface structures called receptors, which in turn transmit a signal to the cell. The cell responds by multiplying, moving, dying, or releasing more cytokine. In some diseases, such as septic shock and rheumatoid arthritis, immune reactions occur in which overproduction of IL-1 and TNF may be associated with inflammation, tissue destruction and disease progression.
 "By blocking inflammatory immune reactions, soluble cytokine receptors may provide a way to inhibit the mechanisms that cause diseases such as allergy, rheumatoid arthritis or septic shock," said Mohler. "We already see encouraging early results in our first human clinical trial of IL-1 receptor. These additional preclinical data open the door for soluble TNF receptor as a potential therapeutic in septic shock and arthritis, as well as the eventual use of receptor products in combination."
 To suppress the action of cytokines such as TNF and IL-1, Immunex scientists harnessed the body's own specific cytokine receptors. Using recombinant DNA technology, they produced soluble versions of the receptor proteins that can act as decoys. By preventing the cytokine from binding to its cell-surface receptor and signaling a reaction, soluble cytokine receptors may be capable of turning off inflammatory responses in a broad spectrum of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
 Septic shock occurs during certain bacterial infections and affects 425,000 patients each year. Half of these patients do not survive. Current therapeutic advances address only a portion of septic shock patients.
 There are 2.2 million patients in the United States with "classical" rheumatoid arthritis. Current treatments for these patients, while capable of masking disease symptoms, generally fail to address underlying arthritis disease mechanisms and can have significant side effects.
 Immunex is currently conducting Phase I clinical trials of its soluble IL-1 receptor for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and allergy. Clinical trials in graft versus host disease, chronic myelogenous leukemia and septic shock are planned to begin by mid- 1992. The company plans to begin clinical trials of TNF receptor in septic shock this summer.
 Immunex Corp. is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, manufacture and marketing of products to treat cancer and autoimmune disease. Immunex is developing an extensive portfolio of therapeutic products which have the potential to treat a wide range of immune system disorders.
 -0- 4/6/92/1400
 /CONTACT: Mary McConnon of Immunex Corp., 206-587-0430/
 (IMNX) CO: Immunex Corp. ST: Washington IN: MTC SU:


LM -- SE002 -- 5364 04/06/92 12:37 EDT
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Date:Apr 6, 1992
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