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Medical News

Scientists See New Hope in Treating AIDS

February 12, 2003

New AIDS medicines in laboratory development or currently in human trials are fueling hopes that a new era of treatment is dawning. Scientists in Boston attending the nation's premier gathering of AIDS specialists, the 10th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, presented details of at least 10 promising drugs that might expand the roster of medicines thwarting the virus.

"The pipeline of new drugs has an impressive number of candidates in it. This is something we haven't seen in many years," said Dr. John Mellors, chief of infectious diseases at the University of Pittsburgh. Mellors estimated that a half-dozen drugs in clinical trials could help with drug resistance found both in patients with newly diagnosed AIDS and those finding that their medicines no longer work. Mellors and a panel of researchers found that 10 to 12 medications are in early phases of study -- compared with just one or two drugs in clinical trials a few years ago.

As an indicator for advancement: While the AIDS medicine T-20 continues to await approval by the Food and Drug Administration, researchers are already developing a related drug as a backup if a patient's virus outsmarts the T-20 formulation.

Among the prospective drugs garnering attention at the conference is the drug TNX-355. While results are preliminary, early human trials of TNX-355 showed that HIV levels dropped by as much as 97 percent in some patients. The drug also is appealing to both researchers and patients because it is given as a single IV dose, lasting up to two or three weeks.

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But Dr. Calvin Cohen, research director of Community Research Initiative of New England, who regularly guides clinical trials of AIDS drugs, talked about the time frame from research to patient and the pitfalls of side effects never anticipated by researchers. "It's wonderful to see the drug industry looking and to see some of these results. But it's also important not to rely on new drugs to get us out of this mess," said Cohen, who is also research director for Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates.

Back to other CDC news for February 12, 2003

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Adapted from:
Boston Globe
02.12.03; Stephen Smith



  
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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
 

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