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immune based
Dec 20, 2002

I know you are involved in immune bgased therapy research. About how far off are we from seeing something like this on the market? Tell me your best estimate please.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Regarding immune-based research, yes, I've been involved in that field since the early 80's, as this is my specific area of training and expertise. I've done research with a variety of immune-based therapies over the years, and continue to be convinced that we must find a way to use or stimulate our immune systems to effectively and ultimately control or conquer the virus. Medication alone probably will never be enough. How far off are we from seeing something on the market? Some therapies already available, like Interleukin-2 (IL2), and being actively studied in a variety of clinical trials. Chiron Corporation unfortunately has recently decided to stop funding its 2000-person (SILCAAT) trial of IL-2. SILCAAT has been costing Chiron $20 million a year. The company's patent expires in 2006 and final results from the large clinical trial wouldn't be ready until 2007. Consequently the company cancelled this study because it was no longer financially. Essentially it was a business decision. Another study (ESPRIT) is continuing.

There are also other immune-based agents and therapies have been tried and found not to be very helpful. Still others are in very preliminary stages of investigation. I couldn't even "guess-timate" when a truly effective and safe product will be widely available. Immune-based research is incredibly complex. The next major HIV conference will take place in February in Boston. More information on a variety of immune-based therapies will be updated at that time. Stay posted to The Body for further details, as they evolve. I'll be in Boston in February (brrrrr!!!), and will certainly be keeping an eye on these latest developments. Happy Holidays. Let's hope we are at least in the "7-inning stretch" in this whole process.

Dr. Bob


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