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The synthetic version of Aldesleukin is manufactured under the trade name of Proleukin by Novartis Oncology.

See their website

Interleukin is a naturally occuring protein made by our bodies. There are several types of Interleukins – the one we are concerned with for treating metastatic kidney cancer ( mRCC) is called Interleukin-2

The treatment is widely known and referred to by Clinicians and patients as High Dose Interleukin-2. It is only rarely referred to by the trade name Proleukin or generic name. For ease and understanding in these pages we will refer to it by the name we are most familiar with which is Interleukin-2.

High Dose Interleukin-2

Low Dose Interleukin-2


  • 23-Oct-2007 see seperate page for IL-21


What is PROLEUKIN Therapy and How Does It Work?

PROLEUKIN® (aldesleukin) for injection is a recombinant human interleukin-2 (rhIL-2) for treatment in adults with metastatic melanoma and metastatic Kidney Cancer. PROLEUKIN therapy is a form of immunotherapy that uses the body's natural immune system to fight cancer.

PROLEUKIN therapy is FDA-approved for the treatment of metastatic Kidney Cancer and the first therapy approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in over 20 years. Studies have demonstrated that PROLEUKIN therapy offers the possibility of a complete and long-lasting response in these diseases.

In metastatic Renal Cell Carcinoma: Overall response rate (out of 255 patients) = 15% (7% complete, 8% partial). Median duration of compete response (CR*) 6.7+ years (range 7 months – 10+ years).

In Metastatic Melanoma: Overall response rate (out of 270 patients) = 16% (6% complete, 10% partial). Median duration of complete response (CR*) 4.9= years (range 3 months – 10+ years).

What is Interleukin-2?

Interleukin-2 (IL-2) is a protein that occurs naturally in your body and plays an important role in activating your 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.

Your immune system is composed of various types of cells that kill and remove foreign substances from the body. IL-2 activates specialized defense cells called T cells and natural killer (NK) cells to help attack and destroy invading germs or diseases. IL-2 can also stimulate these cells to attack and destroy cancerous tumors.

PROLEUKIN therapy differs from other treatments for metastatic melanoma and metastatic Kidney Cancer because it's an immunotherapy. Instead of directly inhibiting cancer cells, it works to activate the body's immune system to help kill them.

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