Last year the American Cancer Society (ACS) announced that it was spending $2 million to purchase 40 billion units of interferon from the Finnish Red Cross, enough for American oncologists to study interferon's anticancer activity in about 150 patients.
This expenditure, the largest on a single project in the society's history, was prompted by preliminary results from the United States and Sweden showing that interferon can halt or reverse the growth of osteogenic sarcoma, melanoma, breast cancer, and lymphoma in some patients.
One misconception about this trial was recently discussed by Thomas Merigan, MD, of Stanford University, a codirector of the study. "Because of the expense and publicity associated with this clinical trial," he explained, "people think there will be quick answers."
But, in his view, this is only the first of many clinical trials that will be needed to establish whether interferon is a useful antitumor agent. For this