Unique Cancer Survivors' Summit Unites Patients From Across the Nation to Celebrate Life

One Common Thread Ties Survivors Together: Proleukin® (aldesleukin) for Injection Immunotherapy Helped Give Patients a New Lease on Life

Oct 11, 2010, 13:14 ET from Prometheus Laboratories Inc.

SAN DIEGO, Oct. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 120 cancer survivors and caregivers, cancer-treating physicians, and patient advocates gathered in San Diego to share their Proleukin® (aldesleukin for injection) treatment experiences.  The theme of the meeting, Celebrating Our (Un)Common Journey Patient Summit, is believed to be the largest-ever gathering of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (kidney cancer) and metastatic melanoma (skin cancer) survivors.  

The Summit, which featured a series of informal group discussions and presentations, offered participants a unique opportunity to share their personal stories of struggle and triumph, and discuss ways to make the journey easier for those currently undergoing treatment and for those who are treated in the future.

"A cancer diagnosis can be devastating, and can make you think you're all alone in fighting the disease," commented kidney cancer survivor Bob Gallner. "Meeting all these other people who have survived metastatic kidney cancer and metastatic melanoma reinforces, for me, the importance for patients to be aware of all their treatment options, because as this weekend demonstrated, there is possibility for a lasting solution to these advanced cancers."

More than 58,000 cases of kidney cancer are diagnosed each year in the U.S., and nearly 13,000 Americans are expected to die from the disease by the end of 2010(1). Melanoma, the most serious form of skin cancer, strikes an estimated 68,000 U.S. adults annually, and claims approximately 8,700 lives a year(2). The metastatic forms of these cancers can be treated with Proleukin, a form of immunotherapy that enhances the body's natural immune system to help fight cancer. Proleukin is the only FDA-approved treatment available that may provide a durable, complete response for either disease(3)(4)(5)(6).

"The Patient Summit is an example of our ongoing commitment to the cancer community," explained Joseph M. Limber, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prometheus, the company that markets and distributes Proleukin. "The Summit is called 'Celebrating Our (Un)Common Journey' because it's a gathering of people with very different backgrounds and stories, but all of who are united by one common experience: benefiting from Proleukin therapy. We hope that sharing stories is the first step toward making this 'uncommon' journey more common - that those currently undergoing treatment will soon be able to share their own cancer survivor stories."

About Proleukin

Proleukin (aldesleukin) for intravenous injection is a recombinant human interleukin-2 for treatment in adults with metastatic melanoma and metastatic kidney cancer. Proleukin therapy is a form of immunotherapy that enhances the body's natural immune system to help fight these types of cancer. Proleukin has been used for over 10 years in the treatment of metastatic melanoma and over 15 years in the treatment of metastatic kidney cancer (renal cell carcinoma). For complete prescribing information, please visit www.Proleukin.com.

Important Safety Information

Therapy with Proleukin (aldesleukin) for injection should be restricted to patients with normal cardiac and pulmonary functions as defined by thallium stress testing and formal pulmonary function testing. Extreme caution should be used in patients with a normal thallium stress test and a normal pulmonary function test who have a history of cardiac or pulmonary disease.

Proleukin should be administered in a hospital setting under the supervision of a qualified physician experienced in the use of anticancer agents. An intensive care facility and specialists skilled in cardiopulmonary or intensive care medicine must be available.

Proleukin administration has been associated with capillary leak syndrome (CLS) which is characterized by a loss of vascular tone and extravasation of plasma proteins and fluid into the extravascular space. CLS results in hypotension and reduced organ perfusion which may be severe and can result in death. CLS may be associated with cardiac arrhythmias (supraventricular and ventricular), angina, myocardial infarction, respiratory insufficiency requiring intubation, gastrointestinal bleeding or infarction, renal insufficiency, edema, and mental status changes.

Proleukin treatment is associated with impaired neutrophil function (reduced chemotaxis) and with an increased risk of disseminated infection, including sepsis and bacterial endocarditis. Consequently, preexisting bacterial infections should be adequately treated prior to initiation of Proleukin therapy. Patients with indwelling central lines are particularly at risk for infection with gram positive microorganisms. Antibiotic prophylaxis with oxacillin, nafcillin, ciprofloxacin, or vancomycin has been associated with a reduced incidence of staphylococcal infections.

Proleukin administration should be withheld in patients developing moderate to severe lethargy or somnolence; continued administration may result in coma.

About Interleukin-2

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a protein that occurs naturally in the body and plays an important role in activating the immune system. The immune system protects the body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues by responding to and resisting diseases. Proleukin therapy is a genetically engineered or recombinant version of IL-2. Proleukin therapy possesses the same properties as naturally occurring IL-2 and helps activate the immune system to recognize and eliminate certain kinds of cancer cells.

About Prometheus

Prometheus Laboratories Inc. is a specialty pharmaceutical and diagnostic company committed to developing and commercializing novel pharmaceutical and diagnostic products to help physicians individualize patient care. Prometheus is a leader in applying the principles of personalized medicine to the diagnosis and treatment of gastrointestinal diseases and intends to apply these principles to oncology. Its strategy includes the marketing and delivery of pharmaceutical products complemented by proprietary, high-value diagnostic testing services. By integrating pharmaceutical products and diagnostic testing services, Prometheus believes it can address the full continuum of care, thereby providing physicians with a comprehensive solution to treat chronic diseases. Prometheus' corporate offices are located in San Diego.

(1) National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) statistical fact sheet: kidney and renal pelvis. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/kidrp.html.  Posted 2010. Accessed August 27, 2010.

(2) National Cancer Institute. Surveillance Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) statistical fact sheet: melanoma of the skin. http://seer.cancer.gov/statfacts/html/melan.html.  Posted 2009. Accessed April 14, 2010.

(3) Proleukin® [package insert]. San Diego, CA: Prometheus Laboratories Inc.; 2010.

(4) Atkins MB, Kunkel L, Sznol M, Rosenberg SA. High-dose recombinant interleukin-2 therapy in patients with metastatic melanoma: long-term survival update. Cancer J Sci Am 2000;6(suppl 1):S11-S14.

(5) Fisher RI, Rosenberg SA, Fyfe G. Long-term survival update for high-dose recombinant interleukin-2 in patients with renal cell carcinoma. Cancer J Sci Am 2000;6(suppl 1): S55-S57.

(6) Klapper JA, Downey SG, Smith FD, et al. High-dose interleukin-2 for the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma: a retrospective analysis of response and survival in patients treated in the Surgery Branch at the National Cancer Institute between 1986 and 2006. Cancer 2008;113:293-301.

SOURCE Prometheus Laboratories Inc.