THE FAUCI FILES, Vol 3( 23): Murder by Compound Q -- The "Underground" Trials

fred fredshaw at
Wed Feb 2 00:07:15 EST 2000

THE FAUCI FILES, Vol 3( 23): Murder by Compound Q -- The "Underground" 

February 1, 2000

In the late 1980's Martin Delaney descended upon the AIDS activism scene
as a pharmaceutical industry plant. While Delaney claimed to be gay, he 
wasn't. While Delaney claimed to have had a lover who died from AIDS, he
didn't. And while Delaney claimed to have had a "fatal disease" that 
could kill him any moment, he obviously did not. Thanks to the very 
high attrition rate among the AIDS activists of that time, it wasn't
long before Delaney took over the AIDS activist scene and turned it
into the "Treatment Activist" scheme.

Delaney and NIH/NIAID Dictator-Direktor, Dr. Anthony "Mussolini", have 
worked hand-in-hand since Delaney oozed on the activist scene. With
Fauci's connections, it was no mystery how Delaney ended up being paid 
$250,000 by Sandoz Pharmaceuticals for conducting his "heroic" "life 
saving" underground trials for Compound Q, manufactured by Sandoz.

While Delaney recruited for his Compound Q (Trichosanthin) trial, he had
NO medical training nor medical licensure, yet a number of gay men died 
in Delaney's human experiments. WHY WAS THIS MAN NOT PROSECUTED FOR 

Perhaps the answer is obvious: Toni "The Rat" Fauci, Delaney's friend.

Here is the transcript from a PBS broadcast titled "AIDS Quarterly, 
Winter 1990". Take note of Delaney's single-minded fixation on the
failed CD4 T-cell surrogate marker and the fact that Compound Q is
yet another immunosuppressive drug that raises the CD4 count in the
blood within hours -- yet nobody improved and everybody did poorly.

Everyone did poorly, that is, with the exception of Delaney -- this
monster NEVER ACCOUNTED for the lives he took, nor the quarter of a
million dollars he was paid by Sandoz - nor has Delaney EVER 
accounted for the MILLIONS of dollars he has received from the 
pharmaceutical industry in the 10 years that followed.

Martin Delaney and his organization -- Project Inform San Francisco --
remain unaccountable to anyone for what they claim to do in the
name of people with HIV and AIDS.

As to Delaney's purported "imminent fatal disease" of a decade ago... 
perhaps the luminaries on the Project Inform Board of Directors,
such as Robert Gallo and David Ho, could render a medical 
opinion about Delaney's miraculous recovery from "imminent death"
-- but, of course, that would be something quite new to their
adventures in medicine.

W. Fred Shaw

Martin Delaney's Compound Q Odyssey
Transcribed and commented by W. Fred Shaw (frshaw at

The following is a transcript from the PBS broadcast of the Winter 
1990 AIDS Quarterly program, narrated by Peter Jennings. This 
transcript concerns the part of the program dedicated to Compound 
Q, and the unofficial study directed by Project Inform's Martin 

In response to Martin Delaney's March 28, 1996 posting on, some commentary - in parentheses ( ) - is added in 
response to selected statements to help guide the reader and 
provide some historical insight into these disturbing events. The 
similarities between this trial and other AIDS drug trials are 
quite striking.

The PBS program begins on May 23, 1989 with Martin Delaney 
speaking with men in front of immunologist Dr. Alan Levin's San 
Francisco medical office:

DELANEY (speaking to the men): Project Inform is NOT the supplier 
of this (Compound Q) but I AM acting as the courier to get it to 
you guys from the people who brought it into the country (from 

(Delaney doublespeak - Martin Delaney IS Project Inform. Later in 
the transcript Delaney forgets his courier status and claims that 
the patients are the distributors)

PETER JENNINGS (narrating): Martin Delaney is one of the most 
influential AIDS activists in the country. For years he's been 
challenging the FDA to speed up its drug trial procedure.

DELANEY: I think it's been shown time and again in AIDS, when you 
got a crisis, a national emergency going on, you have to take a 
shorter path to your goal.

(This story exemplifies how a "shorter path" can worsen a crisis).

PETER JENNINGS (narrating): Trichosanthin, better known as 
Compound Q, a Chinese abortion and cancer drug. It was tantalizing 
because it killed HIV-infected cells in the test tube. The FDA 
promised human trials. But for activists like Martin Delaney, 
trials administered by the FDA would take too long. So Delaney 
joined forces with Dr. Alan Levin, a San Francisco immunologist, 
who was prepared to conduct an accelerated trial ... illegally.

LEVIN: Now it's not a simple treatment, and its not a safe 
treatment, and the odds are very good someone's going to die of 
this treatment. We're not kidding ourselves - this is not a 
magical panacea.

(These initial warnings by Levin are soon to be lost in the 

PETER JENNINGS: Dr. Levin was prepared to put his reputation on 
the line, because many people had imported it from China and were 
taking unsupervised doses. Levin asked for volunteers from among 
his own patients. He and his staff chose 3 who had advanced cases 
of AIDS. 

LEVIN STAFF MEMBER (interviewing trial patient): Do you understand 
that Dr. Levin does not guarantee that trichosanthin treatment 
will slow down or stop your AIDS. Do you understand that this is 
not necessarily a cure for AIDS?

(Aren't these patient warnings much different than Levin's 
previous statement that "someone's going to die of this 
treatment"? It becomes quite clear later in the program that, in 
fact, patients held on to the false belief that Compound Q was a 
"magic bullet".).

PETER JENNINGS: One of them, 41 year-old Tandy Valou.

TANDY: I'm in my seventh year of dealing with this and I'm tired 
of all the symptoms. I'm willing to take the risk to wipe it out 
completely. Of course, my main hope is that it is going to 
eliminate the virus completely and I really believe it is. In 
terms of hopes for myself, I'm a survivor, I feel like that now. 
If it doesn't work for me that's not the end of the road for me. 
But I think it may be for a lot of people. So many people are 
counting on this drug.

(As in other trials, patients are frequently led to believe that 
they will "wipe it out completely", whatever the risk)

PETER JENNINGS: Day 1: The patients receive their first infusion 
with Compound Q. The trial consisted of 3 doses over 3 weeks. 

LEVIN: I can tell you that we're going to see benefit, or lack or 
benefit in hours, certainly in days.

(Here, the immunologist believes that the "benefit", in this case 
an increase of CD4 cells, seen in a matter of hours or days, is 
the result of the drug killing virus-infected cells. Aren't such 
responses an obvious response of the immune system to Compound Q - 
similar to the "flushing out" of existing CD4 cells by AZT in the 
same time period?).

PETER JENNINGS: Dr. Levin was looking for an increase in T4 cells, 
the white blood cells that fight disease. He was worried about 
side-effects. He was most concerned about MTD, the maximum 
tolerated dose, that signals when the drug is about to overpower 
the body. Besides Andy Valou, the other patients were 39 year old 
Norman Watkins and 41 year old Ron Fisher. 

PETER JENNINGS (as the first infusion was started): Dr. Larry 
Waite assisted Dr. Levin.

WAITE: We needed people who had tried previous therapies and who 
had failed those previous therapies. They have tried virtually 
everything and everything is failing them and they are at the 
point now where they are trying this as literally... it is their 
last resort. 

( The "last resort" school of thought - no consideration given to 
the acceleration of a patient's death )

PETER JENNINGS: They waited anxiously for the drug to take effect.

TANDY (receiving treatment): I was thinking about so many of my 
friends that have died. And I felt their presence.

RON FISHER: I'm going to survive this and get over it. I'm 
committed to it. I believe that I'm going to survive and get over 

(Ron Fisher would die less than four weeks later from "pulmonary 
cancer", more likely fulminating Kaposi's Sarcoma of the lungs, 
undoubtedly due to the profound immune suppression of Compound Q. 
Norman Watkins died months later).

PETER JENNINGS: They were kept overnight for observation. The 
activist (Delaney) and the doctor were anxious too.

DELANEY: Let's say the drug worked. Let's say it knocked out all 
these infected cells. Would the immune system recover?

(This question not only reveals Delaney's limited knowledge of 
immunology, but isn't this a basic science question that should be 
answered BEFORE starting a clinical trial involving an 
immunosuppressive and toxic drug?).

LEVIN: I'm going to speculate. The guy with high suppressor cells 
will respond because he has a lot of bone marrow reserves. The guy 
with low total T cells and low suppressor cells might have more 
trouble. My sense is that the guys whose bone marrow is damaged by 
AZT won't do as well as the guys whose bone marrow's haven't been 
damaged by AZT. I'm speculating again that there is going to be a 
dramatically clear result one way or the other. 

(As seen later, what does a 12 hour, 35% increase of CD4 cells 
have to do with "a lot of bone marrow reserves"? Clearly the 
increase was a flushing effect. Further, the trichosanthin 
research that is cited after this transcript clearly shows that 
the CD8 CTLs would be expected to decline together with a 
suppression of IL-2 and a decreased lymphoproliferative effect).

DELANEY: I hope you're right.

(Hope? )

LEVIN: I'm also speculating that we're going to run into big 
trouble with some guys.

PETER JENNINGS: The next morning the first set of results was 

LEVIN: In the main everybody did very well. In the one patient 
that we have the data on right now, we see about a 35% increase in 
the white blood cells in 12 hours, that's pretty impressive. 
Medically, scientifically and ethically, it should be made 
available to every HIV-positive person by the end of the year if 
it works. And we'll know that within six weeks to two months.

(CD4's increase by 35% in 12 hours? This is the flushing response 
to the drug).

PETER JENNINGS: A very accelerated trial. Across town, at San 
Francisco General Hospital, Compound Q was undergoing an official 
FDA trial, and it would take at least 18 months, under the 
direction of Dr. Paul Volberding.

VOLBERDING: Even though there was some prior experience with this 
drug in China, there wasn't any experience any of us had any 
direct involvement with, and we expected that the drug would be 
more toxic in the setting of AIDS. So when we designed the initial 
trials, we said we don't really know what dose to use, we don't 
know what side-effects to expect, so we'll do a very careful 
study, it's called a dose-escalating study, where we start out 
with very low doses of the drug and build up as we get more 
comfortable with the drug.

PETER JENNINGS: Patients in Dr. Volberding's trial initially 
received only a fraction of the dose that Dr. Levin was 
administering to his volunteers.

VOLBERDING: A traditional way that we've used new drugs - drugs 
for the first time in people - the plan for this drug is really 
comparable to the plan we have used for drugs in the past.

PETER JENNINGS: Dr. Volberding did not know that the secret 
(Levin) trial was taking place. On the seventh day of his trial, 
Dr. Levin was optimistic.

LEVIN: In every patient we've seen at least a doubling, if not a 
tripling, of the white blood cell count, and these people have run 
very low white blood cell counts for years, or for at least the 
year that we've been tracking them. So something very dramatic is 
happening to them. There are a lot of questions as to whether to 
double the dose next time or even to increase it by 10%, but we 
just don't know. So right now, to be on the safe side, we're just 
going to expand the population at this dose level and monitor 

(Clearly, a dramatic CD4 flushing response - but this was seen as 
"good" because Delaney and the good doctor were focusing on the 
CD4 surrogate marker. It was way too soon to expand the trial 
after only seven days with the first group)

PETER JENNINGS: So the next day, Norman, Andy and Ron received 
their second infusion. The same amount as the first time. While 
four new volunteers began in the trial.

DELANEY (hunched over the lab results): That's remarkable 
(referring to the increases in white blood counts).

(As usual, Delaney is fixated on the singular CD4 surrogate 

PETER JENNINGS: On the 8th day, the experiment took a turn for the 
worse. After his second infusion, Tandy's mental capacity was 
seriously impaired.

TANDY (disheveled and tearful): I'm scared, very, very much scared 
right now. I've been here all day, since, oh what 8:30 or 9:30. 
The doctor wanted to see what's happening with me. He's given me 
some medication (mumbling) difficult ...and it's scary. I'm 
pretty scared (mumbling, tearful).

(All prospective patients of toxic drug clinical trials should see 
this tape).

LEVIN: Well, Tandy, as you saw, had an episode where he has a lot 
of confusion. He has difficulty gathering words and Organic Brain 
Syndrome. And of course, most of our guys have described some 
level of feeling confused and inability to think well. He happens 
to be the worst. He's had the worst reaction of any of the guys 
regards his problems with the drug.

(Organic Brain Syndrome (dementia) only eight days after starting 
a toxic, immunosuppressive therapy like Compound Q? Interestingly, 
this "Syndrome" later disappeared two days after the patient 
stopped taking his drugs).

PETER JENNINGS: At this point Dr. Levin speculated that Compound Q 
might be killing brain cells, leading to temporary dementia or 
even coma. Then Levin's assistant Clark Housman learned that Norm 
was also ill. The drug was taking over his body. It appeared they 
had reached maximum tolerated dose, MTD.

HOUSMAN (Levin's assistant - excerpted): Norm has to come in today 
anyway for blood work, we have to check him out. If he can't walk, 
we have to get him in by ambulance.

PETER JENNINGS: A worried Dr. Levin made a decision.

LEVIN: I'm not going any further with anybody.

(Excellent moral and ethical choice, but one that unfortunately 
was short-lived)

HOUSMAN: What does this mean for (the) Thursday group?

LEVIN: You mean in terms of the second infusion? No second 
infusion on anybody as far as I'm concerned.

RECEPTIONIST (on Telephone Intercom): Can you take a call from 
Martin Delaney?

LEVIN: Hi Marty. We're hitting the wall. Well Tandy has marked 
phages which are chronic, he has atrophy and dirty white matter. 
Well, he's got AIDS dementia. In his case we have to wait and 
watch. Norm Watson is in here with a temperature of 103.2 which is 
coming down. The problem with him is we don't know what antibiotic 
to use because he's been on all of them. I really don't like 
hurting people. But, you know, obviously these guys had no 
alternative. I just don't want to be the one that accelerates 
their demise. But, you know, we might be able to pull them 

(Was Norm's  fever a result of the emergence of a copathgen due to 
further immune suppression by Compound Q?).

PETER JENNINGS: Hours later, Levin wanted to cancel the trial, 
Delaney wanted to proceed. They argued.

LEVIN: Next question though is the way to go with the second 
infusion on the second group.

DELANEY: See, on that one I'm more inclined to think "yes" but 
maybe rethinking the dosage question. I know some of those guys 
are very upset (about the prospect) of not doing it too.

(What had Delaney told "those guys" about Compound Q that made 
them so very upset at the thought of not being able to use it? 
Clearly, Delaney is not expressing any sense of compassion for 
these patients, since he clearly thinks these patients are going 
to die anyway - a mindset that has pervaded all of the AIDS 
clinical trials.)

LEVIN: But they're so sick.

DELANEY: Yeah. Well what about making some individual choices 
then? Letting them call it. I mean they're sort of calling it 
anyway so what is the difference here?

(Individual choices? Based on what information - that which is 
spoon-fed by Delaney?) 

LEVIN: Cause I'd feel guilty about hurting them no matter what 
they say.

(The doctor has to EXPLAIN this to Delaney?)

DELANEY: See there is nothing in any of the lab work I've seen 
right now that suggests a problem with anybody. I mean the only 
stuff in the lab work suggests some fairly significant benefits in 
fact. Now it's too early to make any kind of conclusion from that 
but I didn't see any evidence of harm in any of the blood work, do 

(These patients are as sick as dogs, yet Doctor Delaney "didn't 
see any evidence of harm" - he knew that the CD4 marker was the 
single key to health and long life. One must ask, where is 
Delaney's compassion?). 

LEVIN: I just see the evidence of harm walking in the door.

DELANEY: Yeah clinical, right (laughing)

(A VERY revealing insight into the mind of Delaney)

PETER JENNINGS: By this point the trial was no longer a secret - 
work had leaked to the FDA. But the agency did not intervene.

(discussion about FDA history and policy, thalidomide, etc.)

PETER JENNINGS: ...But the agency (FDA) was unprepared to deal 
with the sudden onslaught of the AIDS epidemic and the highly 
politicized gay community.

(more FDA discussion about the agency being on the defensive).

PETER JENNINGS: (Picture of Norman and Dr. Levin at Norman's 
home). By the end of the second week, Norman was unable to leave 
home and come for a checkup. Compound Q had apparently further 
weakened his immune system. Dr. Levin went to him.

NORMAN: All three of us got sore, and tired and fatigued, and I 
had trouble with fevers for two years so I didn't know if it was 
from another infection or from the drug itself. This has been a 
bad week. (If) I die, I was going to die anyway, probably.  
(Tearful) it's hard ... hard.

(Norman dies in the months to follow)

PETER JENNINGS: Tandy's condition was troubling.

TANDY: (tearful, confused, disheveled, shaky voice) I was doing OK 
for a while, then completely lost it, completely lost my capacity 
(drifting off) very, very out of it. Very much out of it.

DELANEY: Well this comes back to the question that always comes up 
with me, and that is do you treat the very sick people who 
desperately want to get treated, because they feel they have to, 
or do you try to treat people at an earlier stage of the disease?

(Showing no compassion for Tandy's condition, Delaney is looking 
for another target - healthy persons at "an earlier stage of the 
disease". When does it make sense to treat healthy, asymptomatic 
patients with toxic, immunosuppressive therapies?)

LEVIN: Well this is a Phase I trial. That's what you do in the 
first place, establish MTD on the basis of the sicker patients.

(So that's what the "sicker patients" are for in clinical trials! 
Humans are cheaper than Chimps)

DELANEY: But so often they're the wrong patients to try treating. 
I mean the history of this disease has been that every drug that's 
come along has worked better at earlier stages, rather than later.

(Delaney's "logic" ignores the fact that healthier patients 
outlast sicker patients)

PETER JENNINGS: Then Tandy and Norman stop taking Compound Q. For 
the next two months, the trial continued with healthier patients, 
altogether 19 men were taking Compound Q. Then in late June, Ron 
Fisher died of pulmonary cancer. Days later, another patient died. 
And suddenly the news was everywhere. The secret that had been 
debated only behind the closed doors of the FDA was suddenly very 

VOLBERDING: Well I think first of all, the Project Inform study is 
playing more than a passive role, they're encouraging by being 
involved, patients to use drugs out of desperation that haven't 
been tested for safety.

(As Volberding confirms, Delaney's " career" has been built on the 
fear and desperation of AIDS patients).

DELANEY: We face the situation here that have been typical 
throughout the AIDS epidemic in that patients have been gearing up 
for large scale importation and distribution of this drug because 
it appears to be so promising. 

(As admitted in his opening remarks of the program, Delaney said 
HE was "gearing up" for distribution - not the patients)

PETER JENNINGS: Six weeks later the FDA, which had known about the 
trial almost from the beginning, felt obliged to respond, it sent 
a letter to Martin Delaney. 

ELLEN COOPER (FDA Director of Antiviral Products): the letter was, 
basically, told Mr. Delaney that certainly we did not approve of 
the protocol, that it was illegal. 

(Elinor Burkitt's recent book, "The Gravest Show on Earth" reveals 
much about  how Delaney, especially his  interaction with Ellen 
Cooper in the spirit of "working together")

PETER JENNINGS: But the letter had a curious turn of phrase. 
Although it said "we feel that you should discontinue any further 
unapproved experimentation", it closed with "we look forward to 
working with you". An unprecedented invitation to an AIDS 

DELANEY: I never expected (the) FDA to, you know, come down on us 
and lock us up, I think they understood the good faith and 
intentions of what we were doing and that once they had the 
opportunity to look at how we did it, I think they could 
understand that we were scientifically responsible as well.

(Scientifically responsible? Good intentions? Good faith? Ignoring 
the patient's clinical presentation and lacking in compassion? 
Volberding's earlier commentary should be reviewed in this regard. 
Delaney's previous experience as a public relations hack is quite 
obvious here.)

FDA EXPERT: The AIDS drugs are treated in a wholly separate 
category, and the FDA is developing separate rules for those 
drugs. The long term question is to what extent, when they get 
those rules in place, those rules will become the rules for drugs 
for arthritis, and ulcers, and diabetes, and asthma and so forth.

PETER JENNINGS: By the Fall, Dr. Levin had assessed his findings 
from the trial, and claimed that the drug might keep the AIDS 
virus from reproducing. So he thought his experiments were 

(What happened to the CD4 counts? Clearly, trichosanthin causes 
the suppression of IL-2 and the suppression of cellular 
proliferation - this immunosuppression is NOT specific to infected 
cells but negatively affects the immune system as a whole).

LEVIN: I've got to tell you that the obligation between the doctor 
and the patient is above the law of any land. Period. And if the 
Nazis say "throw the Jew in the oven", as a doctor I would be 
obligated to say "no". I don't care what any regulatory affairs - 
any governmental institution tells me - if this is going to save 
lives, I'm going to do it. And I'll tell ya I'll do anything 
scientifically, medically and morally correct and somebody else 
has to make it legal.

(Levin, now the hero, confuses the role of the Nazi and the doctor 
- using the unfortunate Jew/oven metaphor. Aren't Levin and 
Delaney the ones throwing the Jew - represented by the sickest 
patients - into the oven - represented by this trial? How simple 
it is to justify the killing of patients through the twisting of 

PETER JENNINGS: But by the end of the year, it was clear that 
Compound Q was NOT the miracle cure. Norman Watkins died of 
complications from AIDS - Compound Q may have contributed to his 
death. By then, one of the patients in the San Francisco General 
trial had died as well. Dr. Volberding had a different view of Dr. 
Levin's efforts.

VOLBERDING: We felt quite strongly that this was not a good idea 
to do this kind of a study in a non-academic setting, without the 
review - the external review of institutional review boards, the 
FDA, and a drug company sponsor. And I still feel that that's 
true. I feel what's changed is that, I appreciate again that our 
goals are the same and that we've learned too over time that we 
really do have to look at our ways of approaching things to make 
sure that we're not slowing things down. It's not fair to 
criticize someone else if, in fact, we are part of the problem.

(During this same time period (1989), Volberding was advocating 
high-dose AZT for "early intervention" - today Volberding admits 
that this was a failed strategy from the outset)

PETER JENNINGS: But he (Levin) also had some good news, Tandy 
Valou had rallied.

Tandy: I actually thought I was dying, I woke up one morning, I 
said to myself "Tandy, this isn't working, I think you're dying, 
stop you're medications. Stop everything right now." So I did, 
stopped it all. And in two days time I knew I was coming back.

(Here Tandy - two days after stopping the drugs - looked fine - 
not disheveled, confused or depressed - suddenly the Organic Brain 
Syndrome diagnosed earlier by Levin has disappeared. Perhaps, 
after all, the problem wasn't the "atrophy and dirty white matter" 
speculated by Levin earlier)

PETER JENNINGS: In December, Tandy began taking Compound Q again.

TANDY: I was disappointed when it wasn't like the miracle cure 
right away, wasn't  the magic bullet. But continued with it, I 
think it's working. I see other friends of mine who that are doing 
quite well on it.

(With the other two participants in the trial (Ron and Norm) now 
dead, exactly what hype led this patient to believe that Compound 
Q was the "miracle cure" or "magic bullet"?)

PETER JENNINGS: So is Compound Q effective against AIDS? There are 
still no clear answers. The official FDA trial isn't over yet. 
Delaney is planning another study of Compound Q, but this time 
with official approval.


The following studies were available PRIOR to the Delaney Compound 
Q study of 1989, yet this information was replaced by hype - many 
patients believed that Compound Q was the "magic bullet". Clearly, 
trichosanthin is a very strongly immunosuppressive agent that 
strongly inhibits the production of IL-2 as well as the Cytotoxic 
T Lymphocyte (CTL) lymphoproliferative response. 

The single-minded fixation on CD4 counts in the Compound Q, AZT 
and other drug trials proved to be a very dangerous clinical goal. 
Obviously, Compound Q contributed to the immunosuppression of the 
study participants, and for some of them, their death. The 
following abstracts represent the type of information that Delaney 
refers to as "laughable" in his March 28, 1996 

Yeung HW; Poon SP; NG TB; Li WW.
Isolation and characterization of an immunosuppressive protein 
from Trichosanthes kirilowii root tubers. Immunopharmacology and 
Immunotoxicology, 1987, 9(1):25-46.

Abstract: An immunosuppressive protein was isolated from 
Trichosanthes kirilowii root tubers by a procedure involving 
acetone fractionation and ion exchange chromatography on CM-
Sepharose. Homogeneity of the protein was demonstrated in 
immunoelectrophoresis, SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, gel 
filtration, high performance liquid chromatography and a single 
NH2-terminal sequence. The protein had a molecular weight of 
26,000, aspartic acid as the NH2-terminal amino acid and no 
cysteine or carbohydrates in its molecule. It inhibited ConA-
induced transformation in lymphocytes isolated from spleens of CBA 
mice. The protein was also potent in inducing mid-term abortion in 

Leung KN; Yeung HW; Leung SO. The immunomodulatory and antitumor 
activities of trichosanthin-an abortifacient protein isolated from 
tian-hua-fen (Trichosanthes kirilowii).
Asian Pacific Journal of Allergy and Immunology, 1986 Dec, 

Abstract: Trichosanthin, a basic protein purified from the root 
tuber of Trichosanthes kirilowii, has been used effectively in 
China to induce midterm abortion in humans. In this paper, we show 
that trichosanthin at non-cytotoxic concentrations markedly 
inhibited the mitogen-induced lymphoproliferative response and the 
generation of a primary alloreactive CTL response in vitro. 
Similarly, the production of IL-2 by Con A activated splenocytes 
and the in vitro effector functions of macrophages were also 
significantly suppressed. In contrast, the cytolytic activity of 
CTL and NK cells was unimpaired. Moreover, the in vivo activation 
of NK cells was not significantly altered by a single injection of 
a non-toxic microgram amount of trichosanthin into mice. However, 
other immune reactivities such as the induction of a DTH response 
and the humoral antibody formation to SRBC were markedly 
depressed. Our data suggest that trichosanthin is a potent 
immunosuppressive protein that could affect humoral immunity and a 
variety of cell-mediated processes. In addition, our preliminary 
results show that this abortifacient protein could also inhibit 
the growth of a murine malignant tumour (MBL-2), both in vivo and 
in vitro.

--- end.

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