Tests on HIV Drug Bring Good Results
May 4, 2007
The Food and Drug Administration has granted fast-track status to an AIDS treatment made by Progenics Pharmaceuticals after initial clinical trials of the drug, PRO 140, reduced HIV concentrations in blood by an average maximum of 98.5 percent. Additional tests with hundreds of patients are planned for the second half of the year, the company said.
Progenics' founder, CEO, and chief science officer, Dr. Paul J. Maddon, has been an AIDS researcher since the 1980s and helped in the discovery of CCR5, the primary portal HIV uses to enter cells. PRO 140 works by binding to the CCR5 receptor on healthy immune system cells and protecting them from viral infection. HIV in the bloodstream that cannot enter a host cell is rendered ineffective and cleared from the body. By comparison, most antiretroviral drugs are designed to slow HIV's replication inside immune cells that are already infected.
PRO 140 was well-tolerated by patients and showed no serious side effects, said Maddon. The treatment is designed for use with other continuing therapies.
"It would be impossible to remove every virus that's incorporated into the DNA from a person's body," Maddon said. "But it is possible to treat people with new therapies that will allow them to live what is essentially a normal lifespan. That's really what the goal is."
Persons interested in participating in clinical trials should contact Progenics Pharmaceuticals through its Web site, www.progenics.com.
Journal News (White Plains, N.Y.)
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.