Interferon Beta-1b (IF-b)
Interferon Beta-1b (IF-b)
Betaseron TR – Berlex Pharmaceuticals
As part of the normal body cells’ genetic programming, each cell exhibits samples of the proteins being employed within the cell as exhibits on the cell surface. As such display is of no direct benefit to the individual cell in question, this universal characteristic undoubtedly is part of the evolutionary endowment of cells which facilitates immune surveillance functions. Tens of thousands of clonally different lymphocytes, each programmed for an amino acid sequence alien to normal cells, constantly patrol the environment of all cells. If any one of these thousands of different lymphocytes encounters a cell displaying foreign amino acid sequences, the lymphocyte attaches itself to the foreign cell and undergoes profound stimulation. The clonal proliferation or the rapid exponential growth of enough lymphocytes to initiate the extermination of cancer cells may rapidly occur when such foreign sequences are recognized.
But for reasons poorly understood, some cancer cells do not express their foreign protein content in a manner detectable to the lymphocytes. Beta- interferon has the capability to induce cells to markedly increase their surface display of intracellular protein amino acid sequences. This increase in display in turn greatly facilitates recognition of cancer cells as foreign by the lymphocytes programmed to recognize such differences or by NK cells on patrol. The cancer cells are thus forced by IF- b to abandon a behavior characteristic that may have protected them from host attack.
Researchers at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in New York state carried out a phase 1-2 clinical trial of IF-b in non small-cell lung cancer patients receiving radiotherapy as standard and conventional treatment. The patients receiving IF-b did markedly better compared with patients receiving radiotherapy alone.
At the American College of Radiology and Radiation Therapy Oncology Group (RTOG) meeting on clinical trials in Boston, Massachusetts on September 8, 1995, the discussant on lung cancer, in describing a current phase 3 clinical trial at Roswell Park, stated, “It looks like they are hitting a home run up there.” The result, to be released, may very well make IF-beta competitive with chemotherapy as an adjuvant tool.
IF-b is better tolerated than IL-2, although flu-like symptoms and mild malaise may also occur. Elderly and debilitated cancer victims seem to tolerate IF-b well and with minimal difficulty.