todays gene therapy live-meeting
Jul 24, 2008
Hi Nelson, I logged into the session today for the gene therapy live-meeting and only managed to catch about the last 15 minutes or so. I missed alot and i had no sound? I was wondering if you saw something from the live meeting session that looks promising and offers hope likely to come into usage in the near future for hiv patients like you and me. Thank you.
Response from Mr. Vergel
Yes, I was on the call. Very exciting data. VIRxSYS has done some small phase I and II studies infusing CD4 cells that contain a lentivirus "vector" (inactivated virus) called VRX496 that is derived from HIV-1 itself but has the disease-causing elements removed. VIRxSYS used this vector to deliver RNA antisense targeting the HIV envelope and observed that VRX496 appeared to cause wild type HIV particles to lose their envelopes. Additionally, the in vivo pressure delivered by a patient's own modified cells led to impaired and less replicative virions (making the virus crippled.) Treatment with VRX496 appeared to have a measurable effect on the replicative fitness of HIV for up to three years following just one infusion. I was impressed by the CD4 cell count increase in some patients after a few weeks of an infusion.
They have an issue that they need to address. Measuring viral load is not very accurate since it does not tell you what viruses are "crippled" and which ones are infectious. So they will probably develop a test to determine that. Also, there was a question asked by our immune bazsed treatment activist Richard Jeffrey about the quality of the CD4 cells and if they were actually a product of the newly infused cells.
I am very excited about this and other gene therapy products being researched right now. We are about to enter a "dry period" in new oral drug approvals, but it seems that we are now entering a new era of immune based therapies. I really think the answer to controlling this disease is in this area. Of course, I am following it closely since I have multi-drug resistance.
I wish VIRxSYS a lot of success. We need this kind of therapies!
Thanks for the question
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