Science & Medicine

Interferon Archive

The Interferon Archive

This is not a promotion for the interferons.   INF– recombinant interferon-alpha — is an important therapeutic option for MPN patients.  One of many.  In the United States, interferon is only available to MPN patients off label, which frequently requires patients to jump through a few hoops.  The Interferon Archive is designed to help support MPN patients secure prescriptions and obtain insurance coverage.

INF is under attack on two fronts, potentially limiting our access to the medicine.  Lingering prejudice and ignorance based on interferon’s historically deserved reputation as a difficult drug, hard to take, with unacceptable side effects is one obstacle.   Over the years,  new formulations and adjustment to significantly lower dosage levels has both decreased or eliminated side effects of interferon therapy and greatly improved its performance.
The second potential limitation on access is related.  The cascade of FDA approvals for new anti-viral drug regimens is good news for over 3 million chronic hepatitis sufferers in the US…but may be a problem for MPN patients.  With an extraordinarily high full cure rate and low risk, these oral hepatitis drugs will inevitably replace costly and continuous Interferon injections to hold hepatitis in check.
With sharp reductions in demand, it’s possible the supply of popular interferons  like Pegasys (Hoffman La-Roche) and Intron-a  (Schering-Plough) and Pegintron (Merck) will decline. But that should not be a serious issue for MPN patients.  There is continued need for the interferons in other medical applications as well as a continued need for combination therapy with the new oral Hep-C drugs and years before the oral anti-virals roll out worldwide. Simultaneously the use of INF in MPN treatment is expanding. Although not yet FDA approved, results reported by patients and investigators have been strongly positive. Interferon is normally easily  available on an off-label basis with a physician’s prescription.

A frequent hurdle faced by MPN patients is to get insurance companies to foot the bill. Those who have been through this process —  appealing a declined medical insurance claim — know the best approach is to supply a strongly documented support of interferon’s unique ability to relieve MPN symptoms and effect the underlying disease.

To make that process easier, we’re putting together the Interferon Archive. There are two parts to the archive:  (1) Documentary evidence based on scientific papers published in peer-reviewed journals and  (2) The stories of interferon patients. It is the sum of that narrative, the overwhelming evidence of renewed quality of life, reduction of splenomegaly and MRF-related fatigue, rebounding blood counts on which we can depend.


Live interview with the Master of Interferon

The current clinical trials

Eventually there will be proof through clinical trial and FDA approvals but that process is slow. Currently there is only one major MPN interferon clinical trial fully enrolled and accumulating data, Dr. Srdan Verstovsek’s Pegasys trial at MD Anderson.

There are three other trials in the works, the most promising of which is the large scale Danish trial of Dr. Thomas Larsen comparing INF with hydroxyurea but that too is only partially enrolled.

Dr. Ron Hoffman at Mt. Sinai, has two trials in process, one a comparative of Pegasys with HU, the other Pegasys with low dose aspirin. These are early stage efforts at the patient accrual level.

Dr. Richard Silver at Weill-Cornell has a prospective Phase II trial Phase of Pegylated Interferon Alpha-2b in Early Primary Myelofibrosis but he is not yet recruiting patients.

For contact  information and details  on these and other trials go to: http:// www. and type the trial number or other identifier in the search box.


NCT00452023: MD Anderson/Verstovsek.  On-going, not recruiting., Pegasys in MPNs

NCT01259817: Mt Sinai/Hoffman. Recruiting. Pegasys vs aspirin in high risk PV/ET

NCT01259856: Mt Sinai/Hoffman. Recruiting. Pegasys vs. HU in PV/ET

NCT01387763: Denmark/Odense/Larsen.  Still recruiting, some sites not yet recruiting. Low dose INF-alpha vs. HU

NCT01758588:  Weill-Cornell/Silver. Not yet recruiting.  Phase II, Pegasys in early MF


Meantime, available to us and our physicians beyond the clinical trial path  are decades of deep experience in successfully using the interferons in MPN treatment (See “Open Letter to the US MPN Community  by Dr. Hans Hasselbalch with extended comment by Dr. Richard Silver.)

There’s no reason to wait years for a judgment already rendered by great experience. 

The Interferon Archives.

For now, we can rally our resources and provide all MPN patients for whom it is appropriate an easily accessible archive of documents and patient case studies to offer our physicians and insurance companies.  

The Interferon Archive  is an on-going and growing project. We are collecting stories from patients which we will post to the Archive and curating scientific papers to add to the Documents section.

If you are a patient taking interferon  please consider sharing your experience. You can describe your interferon experience briefly in a few paragraphs or at length. Please include the name of your physicians,  your diagnosis, your history of prior MPN drugs, your condition when you started interferon and your current condition.

Please submit your story to  If you require anonymity, please indicate that clearly in your story submission. The Interferon Archive page will be continually updated and available at whenever you need it. line Two  key documents

HH ExpRev New eraHH Int and treatment silver kiladjian and HH

Abstract                                                         Abstract

Documentation for Pegasys Appeals Process, Dr. John Crispino MPN Research Foundation:


Take me back to the Contents ©, 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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