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Summer 1998

Growth Hormone Therapy for Fat Accumulation

In conjunction with Dr. Donald Kotler and St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, CRIA has launched the first pilot study of the effect of recombinant human growth hormone (Serostim™) in the treatment of truncal obesity associated with HIV infection. The study is known as the Fat Accumulation in the Belly (FAB) study. As detailed elsewhere in this issue, redistribution of fat into the abdominal region is being seen in HIV-infected persons, many of whom are on protease inhibitor therapy. There is no known effective treatment for this condition. This study will test the safety of self-administering growth hormone, by injection under the skin, daily for 24 weeks.

To be eligible, persons must be at least 18 years old, HIV-infected, on stable antiretroviral treatment, and have noticed increasing abdominal size. Further eligibility will be confirmed in the clinic by body measurements to determine the abnormal distribution of abdominal fat. The study involves 8 visits to CRIA and 3 visits to St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, where special tests to measure body fat -- including magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and other scans -- will be performed. The growth hormone needed for this study is being donated by Serono Laboratories. All visits, tests, and study medication are free. For more information, call Dr. D. Mendez at 212-924-3934.

CRIA's Treatment Education Program Presented in Geneva

CRIA's Executive Director, J Daniel Stricker presented his abstract entitled "Providing HIV/AIDS Treatment Education to an Ethnically Diverse Population in a Large Urban Setting", detailing CRIA's Treatment Education Program at the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva, on July 2, 1998. We are pleased that the Conference organizers through their acceptance of the abstract acknowledged the innovative nature of CRIA's program.

The initiative is a unique model for the dissemination of treatment information to underserved populations, especially women and ethnic minorities. The program delivers culturally and linguistically appropriate treatment information to people living with HIV/AIDS, and technical assistance to staff members of AIDS service organizations in all five boroughs of NYC. The program has been a success reaching over 1500 individuals since its creation over one year ago.


Nutrition Supplement Study

At the 12th World AIDS Conference in Geneva, Dr. Donald Kotler presented data from CRIA's recently completed study comparing Sustacal Plus™ and Lipisorb™, two commercial liquid nutritional supplements. Sustacal Plus™ contains long chain triglycerides (large fat molecules) while Lipisorb™ contains medium chain triglycerides (smaller fat molecules).

The study examined the impact of the two treatments on body weight and body composition in HIV positive individuals without wasting and T-cells under 100. Each participant was given three cans of supplement a day for six months.

The rationale for the study was that the medium chain triglycerides would be easier for the individual's body to absorb, due to the size of fat molecule, than long chain triglycerides and thus would result in better weight gain. However, while the results showed both groups gained weight, those who used Sustacal Plus™ gained significantly more weight than individuals who used Lipisorb™. More information will be available after further analyses of the data are completed.

CRIA Board Elections

CRIA is pleased to announce the election of Reinaldo Herrera to its Board of Directors at the June 17 board meeting. Mr. Herrera and his wife Carolina have actively supported CRIA's research and treatment education agenda since 1995, and Mr. Herrera has become increasingly involved in advising the agency on diversifying and strengthening its fundraising activities.

Mr. Herrera is Special Projects Editor at Vanity Fair magazine and serves as a Director of Revlon Inc. CRIA's staff and Board look forward to the guidance Mr. Herrera will provide on all aspects of agency operations during the years to come.

Charles Franchino, DC was elected Treasurer of CRIA's Board of Directors at the June board meeting. Dr. Franchino, who has been on CRIA's Board since 1994, and currently serves as Chair of the Nominating Committee, has the depth of understanding of CRIA's operations to assume the pivotal role of Treasurer. Dr. Franchino was formerly the President of the Treatment Action Group's (TAG) Board of Directors. The position of Treasurer became vacant upon the death of George N. Stathakis in April of this year.

CRIA Joins the MRAA

CRIA is proud to announce its recent selection to become a member of the Medical Research Agencies of American (MRAA). Among other things, this affiliation makes CRIA eligible for participation in the Combined Federal Campaign (CFC) for federal employees and armed services personnel in all 50 states and overseas.

We are excited about our membership in the MRAA because it will better enable a far broader audience to learn about and support our critical clinical research and treatment education programs for people living with HIV and AIDS. Look for CRIA in the 1998/99 CFC brochure if you are a federal employee or in any branch of the United States Armed Services. We would like to give special thanks to the staff at MRAA for their invaluable assistance.

Back to CRIA Update Summer 98 Contents Page

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This article was provided by AIDS Community Research Initiative of America. It is a part of the publication CRIA Update. Visit ACRIA's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.