We have completed phase 1 of our study with the GC376 protease inhibitor. This study is being done in collaboration with colleagues at Kansas State University. We have been inundated with requests from owners around the world to have their cats treated, many on the presumption that we have a cure for all cats with FIP. Phase 1, which is currently being completed and is not open for new cats, was designed to determine the optimal dosage regimen and what forms of FIP and duration of illness will be most responsive to this treatment. Based on what we have learned from our first group of cats, we know that the treatment will require a minimum of twelve weeks and will cause a rapid reversal of disease signs in most, but not all, cats. However, we still do not know whether or not we can sustain disease remission in those cats that survive the therapy and remain healthy. Cats with neurologic disease will not respond to this treatment, as the drug does not penetrate well into the brain. We also know that cats with ocular FIP will develop severe neurologic disease during or after treatment. We have also learned that cats that have had FIP for some time will often develop neurological disease while on treatment or after their initial treatment is completed. In short, it is not possible to say at this point that a given cat can be “cured” of FIP.
We would ask that owners not to view our study as a last chance cure for their cat’s disease. This is a preliminary research study using field cases of FIP. Initial results indicate that kittens in the acute stages of effusive (wet) FIP are most likely to go into sustained disease remission and we will therefore concentrate our phase 2 studies on this type of case. When the time comes for this next phase of our trial we will advertise for more cases under the same strict criteria and owner guidelines employed in our phase 1 study but will not accept any cats that are over this age and/or have other forms of FIP. We are extremely limited in even the number of kittens with acute effusive FIP that we can accept, so please do not request that your cat be entered into this phase 2 study if it does not meet these new criteria. Cats will be entered into the study in order of their submission and acceptance. Once we have accepted the number of kittens that are needed, the phase 2 trial will be closed to new cases. The drug is not commercially available and cannot be purchased and must be administered under the institutional and hospital protocols of UC Davis. We understand the desperation that people feel when their cat develops such a terrible disease but our resources are limited and must be strictly focused on the goal of researching FIP what we hope is the first of many highly specific and effective antiviral drugs against FIP virus. Our study of GC376 is the first step towards that goal and there will hopefully be other promising drugs to be tested in the future.