Magazine article Science News

AIDS: Treatment and Transmission

Magazine article Science News

AIDS: Treatment and Transmission

Article excerpt

AIDS: Treatment and transmission

"It's been a tumultuous month in the AIDS fields," Martin S. Hirsch of Masscahusetts General Hospital in Boston said at the Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy this week. And several presentations at the New Orleans conference relating to drug treatments and heterosexual transmission may add to the rapidly accumulating data bank, if not to the tumult.

Hirsch's comment was in response to the announcement of the expanded availability of azidothymidine (trade name AXT), an anti-AIDS drug (SN:9/27/86,p.196). Samuel Broader of the National Cancer Institute released further data on the AZT trials at the meeting, including a description of what happens to disease-fighting T4 cells during drug treatment. Viral killing of these white blood cells is blamed for the deadly immunosuppression of AIDS.

While AZT did initially boost the already-low T4 levels -- as those of placebo-treated patients continued to fall -- the average in the AZT-treated group eventually dropped to pretreatment levels, presumably through AZT's suppression of bone marrow production of T4 precursors. But Broder says the fall isn't an overwhelming concern. Only some patients showed the decrease, he says, "and even with some patients' fall, [AZT] does seem to be translating to a clinical benefit."

Broder says he's just gotten a goahead from the Food and Drug Administration to try a similar drug, dideoxycytidine, in AIDS patients. Other drugs under development were discussed at the meeting, including D-penicillamine, a compound marketed for rheumatoid arthritis and Wilson's disease, a rare metabolic disease. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.