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I didn't see this in the CDC daily update
      #14665 - 01/11/01 09:34 PM

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent

WASHINGTON (Reuters) Jan. 11, 2001 - A designer protein that stops the AIDS virus from breaking and entering might make it as a last-ditch weapon in the arsenal against HIV, researchers said on Thursday.

They said they had engineered a protein that prevents the virus from attaching itself to the cells it attacks. Their protein, if launched as a drug, would join a new category of HIV drugs known as entry inhibitors.

Tweaking the protein, called 5-Helix, might make it work against a range of viruses, including influenza, said the researchers at the Howard Hughes Medical and Whitehead Institutes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Dr. Peter Kim, who led the research, said the protein was a long way from being tested in people.

"What is needed now is for someone to take this and start to do the things that are required for animal testing," he said in a telephone interview.

So far the researchers are not working with any drug company, said Kim, who is leaving MIT to head worldwide research and development for Merck .

He said 5-Helix is a protein, which is too large a molecule to be absorbed orally. It would have to be injected, like the only fusion inhibitor close to marketing approval, Trimeris Inc.'s T-20.

"It is less convenient than swallowing a pill," Kim said. "So it would probably be used as a salvage therapy, which is used when the existing armamentarium of drugs against HIV are no longer effective."

The researchers, who reported their findings in the journal Science, said it might also be used in a gene therapy approach to treating HIV. This would involve putting altered genes into the body.
There's more about this at Just as an FYI for all of my fellow hypocondriacs, if you haven't heard T-20 (injectable) fusion inhibitor started phase 3 clinical trials recently with 700 AIDS patients. Fear NOT! There IS progress.... : ) cheers

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Re: I didn't see this in the CDC daily update new
      #14676 - 01/12/01 01:42 AM

I see where T-20 is going into Phase 3. Also see where 48 weeks is showing undetectable for those involved. However, do you know anyway to figure how well the trial are going --prior to the final analysis?

I wonder how long it will take to get an oral equivalent to the injectable new classes?

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Reged: 10/26/00
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Re: I didn't see this in the CDC daily update new
      #14680 - 01/12/01 04:21 PM

It's my understanding that there won't be an oral equivalent for the fusion inhibitors. I believe it is because a peptide acid in the drug would be broken up and made ineffective by stomach acids has to be injected, much the same principle as insulin.


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