CRIA is pleased to introduce Eugen Vartolomie, M.D. as our newest researcher. Dr. Vartolomie comes to us from Bronx-Lebanon Hospital Center where he conducted HIV and AIDS related research within its Infectious Diseases Clinic. He received his M.D. in his native country of Romania, where he also specialized in HIV research, principally surrounding CMV retinitis.
At CRIA, Dr. Vartolomie is managing our various protocols within partner clinics and hospitals in Brooklyn and Staten Island. This is the first time that CRIA has been able to dedicate a researcher to conducting trials within these two outer boroughs of New York City. Having this additional capacity represents an important advancement in CRIA's ability to ensure that all populations within our local community can potentially benefit from our HIV clinical trials.
In July 2001, CRIA launched a protocol in collaboration with Linda Richmond, Ph.D. at Village Center for Care to evaluate the acceptance, use, and benefits of complementary therapies for people who are living with HIV. Dr. Richmond will be interviewing care providers and patients at several day treatment centers in New York City to learn which complementary therapies are most popular and seemingly effective. We will be examining such modalities as herbal therapy, meditation, reflexology, Reiki, and yoga through this process.
This study is being conducted as a preliminary step before designing a series of independent trials on the most promising of the "alternative" medicines. Our ultimate goal is to offer PLWAs and care providers more safety and efficacy data on these modalities than is currently available. We expect to have the explanatory model of complementary therapies completed by the end of 2001.
CRIA will soon begin a Phase III double-blinded trial of Bristol-Myers Squibb's new protease inhibitor, atazanavir (formerly known as BMS-232632). The study's purpose will be to gather safety and efficacy information on this antiretroviral agent, which has yet to receive FDA approval. We will be primarily comparing atazanavir to nelfinavir (Viracept), a widely used protease inhibitor already on the market. Our objective will be to see which if either of these two medications is safer and/or more effective in fighting HIV. Trial participants will be randomized to receive either atazanavir plus two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors or nelfinavir plus two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors and will be followed through 11 site visits to CRIA's clinic over at least a 48-week period. People whose current regimen is failing them and who have never taken more than 7 days of protease inhibitor therapy are eligible to participate in the study.
CRIA's Community Advisory Board (CAB) fosters partnership between the education staff and the local community impacted by HIV/AIDS. Involving community members in the development of our education programs ensures that community values and cultural differences are respected in CRIA's educational work.
Community Advisory Board members meet every other month, review program materials and help us identify education needs.
For more information about the CAB or if you are interested in volunteering at CRIA, please call Jen Curry at (212) 924-3934, ext. 120.
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.