Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) is a terrible and lethal disease of cats, most often young cats. The pathogenesis of this disease has not been completely elucidated, but feline coronavirus is known to play a role. In this disease, the virus infects a type of white blood cell, the monocyte/macrophage. As a consequence of this infection, a cellular protein called tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is produced and contributes to the disease. These researchers prepared antibody to this protein and investigated its usefulness as a treatment for FIP, which is currently untreatable.
Progression to FIP was prevented in 2 out of 3 cats treated with this antibody, whereas all 3 cats developed FIP in the placebo control group. Plasma alpha1-glycoprotein, an important inflammatory mediator and vascular endothelial growth factor levels were improved by the administration of the antibody and the peripheral lymphocyte count also recovered. These results strongly suggested that the anti-TNF-alpha antibody is effective for the treatment of FIP. (MK)