T-Cyte Treatment for FeLV and FIV Cats? Does it Work?

T-Cyte Treatment is treating cats who have FeLV and/or FIV with Lymphocyte T-Cell Immunomodulator. T-Cyte Therapeutics is the name of the manufacturer who supply vets with this expensive treatment. They are not very open about its success rate and cost etc.. It is difficult to find information on whether it works and whether the high cost is worthwhile. It is a USDA-approved treatment and it is also called: LTCI. The drug is designed to help to restore a cat’s ability to fight infection.

FeLV positive rescue cat "Pasquale". Photo: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

FeLV positive rescue cat “Pasquale”. Photo: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue

Some time ago Elisa wrote about modern treatments for these nasty and major feline diseases. She included T-Cyte. This is a quick follow up to see if the internet could throw up indications that it has proved effective.

Regrettably, as far as I can tell, it is still unclear whether it works consistently or at all. There is some anecdotal evidence from cat owners that it has worked or at least their cat’s health appears to have improved:

“I was skeptical at first, especially since T-Cyte has a very firm grip on their PR, it’s difficult to find information that is not provided by the company itself, but I’d say if you are running out of options, it is worth a try. We started seeing significant improvement in her health after about 3 shots.” (EECBrooklyn — Catsite.com)

This person’s comment reflects my feelings about this treatment. These diseases are the sort in which options can run out.

The Yahoo Group on FeLV positive cats state this:

There are immune system treatments that change 44% of feline leukemia positive cases negative!! — I don’t know whether they are referring to T-Cyte treatment but they give hope.

Another group felineleukemia.org do mention T-Cyte treatment but do not comment on how good it is. They refer to a company other than T-Cyte Therapeutics, which is called IMULAN BioTherapeutics, LLC who also produce a drug that appears to be similar or the same as T-Cyte. They describe it as:

“T-Cell Receptor (TCR) peptide immune modulators, for veterinary medicine.”

The science is baffling to the public and there is little information about effectiveness of this drug. On their website under a heading “Feline Studies”, the company states: “Coming soon”. Ah, well, we don’t know as yet how good it is. The company is based in Arizona, USA.

My personal conclusion is that the jury is out on the effectiveness of this treatment for FeLV. If you are desperate and feel you have to try it as a last resort, it is probably worth a go. One veterinary customer states that he paid $90 per shot (Catsite.com).

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T-Cyte Treatment for FeLV and FIV Cats? Does it Work? — 15 Comments

  1. It’s hard to say what the effectiveness of this treatment will be and it’s probably far too expensive for many cat caretakers and do we know what side effects there may be?
    I think anyone would need to do a lot of research before trying it on their cat, but then again it will be the only way to find out if it works or not.

      • Michael I have an FIV cat under my extended care – and I was looking into getting LTCI here i Switzerland but the vets don’t recommend it.

        I just want him to live as long as possible. As happily as possible.

        Do you think I should try to get hold of this LTCI – or should I not bother.

        He is young and healthy – just positive – so it will eventually make him sick. I assume LTCI slows down the onset of the symptoms.

        Do you think I should push hard to track this stuff down?

  2. USDA approved doesn’t always mean that a drug is effective. Most of the time, it means that there’s an assumption that it’s safe. Well, that’s to be seen down the road.
    I hate hype and hate when people, like desperate cat lovers, pour there hard earned money into something “ify” that may give them false hope. It’s heartbreaking.
    Pharmaceutical companies are as devious as the AMA and the AVMA.

    • Dee – so you wouldn’t suggest using it? I have an FIV cat under my extended care. It’s looking to be hard to get here anyway.

      Would you try and get it if it was your cat?

      • Personally, I would give it a shot if I could afford it AND my cat’s health was beginning to deteriorate. I would wait a while if my cat appeared healthy and all labs were within normal limits.

        Like Michael says in his article, not a lot of info is to be found that doesn’t come directly from the manufacturer. But, I found this http://www.jarvm.com/articles/Vol6Iss2/Vol6Iss2Gingerich61-68.pdf

        The handful of studies that were done showed some pretty substantial suppression of the viruses and improvement of the overall health of the cats. There were no side effects reported.

        The USDA has only issued a conditional license at this point. They are requiring that indepth, controlled studies be done before considering full licensure.
        This isn’t uncommon for antiviral meds for humans too.

        Because of this, I sort of see T-Cyte as still being somewhat experimental but with great promise.

  3. IMULAN BioTherapeutics, LLC sold this treatment, so it is one and the same. If I remember correctly, it was due to financial constraints.

    I did personally use this on one of my FIV+ boys that was very symptomatic and clinically
    “end stage”. There is no doubt in my mind that it prolonged his life, as well as the quality of his life. At the time, I was hoping for more information and/or studies to be released, but I’m not able to find anything even several years later.

    The improvement in my boy was significant and even moved his WBC back into the normal range. The most significant side effect was anorexia, so if you have a cat that you are unable to syringe feed, this can be very problematic.

    I had my Vet order a package for me, and I paid for the entire thing. It was either $500 or $600 at the time, and that is what a Vet would pay for it. It may have had 12 shots in it.

    At any rate, I’m back online looking yet again for more information for my last FIV+ senior boy.

  4. I paid $50 a dose for it, but my vet was good enough to give it to me at cost, rather than with the standard mark up.

    I wasn’t using it for FIV (was trying it for another inflammatory condition) and didn’t see any reportable results with it. Is it something that I’ll keep in mind for my FIV guy? Sure. Why not? If/when he gets sick, there’s not much to lose in trying (except money).

    What I’d like to see is more use of it in FIV+ kittens – in some, at least, it seems it may be able to eliminate the virus.

    • Hi, thanks for sharing your experiences/thoughts. Since writing this article, I have used it on my cat Charlie who the vets believed had a viral infection but he actually had a tumor. Anyway the vet said it is worth using but it takes weeks to have an effect. I am not sure if you ever see the advantages.

  5. Last year I had one of three rescue kittens test positive FELV, being siblings we tested all three and 2 showed neg to the in house test. We used the T-Cyte drug on the one but he was very sick and weak and lived about 4 months. The drug is expensive at about 100 per shot. The other boy began losing weight and we did all the normal procedures but he continued to lose and his hair lost its shine. He was tested 2 times by the same test and showed neg. the vet took blood and sent it to the lab for several things and it came back positive for FELV. We had 8 shots left that we had already paid for so we started on a more aggressive dose of 3 injections the first week instead of 3 at 7 days apart. He is sleeping a lot but seems to feel better he is eating well. Today was 2nd injection and no fever today. His sister had blood draw today but we will not know until Monday if it is positive. Here is my view if you have a pet that is positive and not showing signs start the injection now. If you wait the chances of survival are less. If my female is positive I start her immediately. If interested in in following my findings please email me at peg578@msn.com I don’t have a blog but will be starting one

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