Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations
Experimental Compound Shows Promise in Halting Spread of HIV in Cells
MPI-49839, an experimental compound developed by Salt Lake City-based Myriad Genetics Inc., has demonstrated "early promise" in its ability to halt HIV transmission on the cellular level, according to a study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the journal Cell. The
Salt Lake Tribune reports that the research was "so promising" that Myriad has announced its intention to ask the FDA for permission to test the substance in humans. The study, done in conjunction with University of Utah researchers, found that by "turning off" a particular protein, scientists can prevent HIV from "budding" out of one cell and invading another (Goodman, Salt Lake Tribune, 10/5). Blocking the protein, known as Tsg101, would not cure HIV/AIDS, but would prevent symptoms. "If you can cut off the development of AIDS for 30 or 40 years, it's as good as curing it because you will die of something -- we all die -- but you will not die of AIDS," Myriad Pharmaceuticals President Adrian Hobden said (Associated Press, 10/4). However, according to lead University of Utah researcher Wes Sundquist, much more work needs to be done before the compound can be turned into an effective drug. Tsg101 "looks like a potential (drug) target, but there's a long way to go here before we rush to judgement. This is excellent science. But it's 'early days' stuff," he added (Salt Lake Tribune, 10/5). Meanwhile, Myriad continues to push for development of the compound. "There's an ongoing need for novel drugs to continue to treat HIV. We think this pathway we've helped uncover is a novel route to finding the new class of drugs," Hobden said (Associated Press, 10/4). Myriad Genetics President and CEO Peter Meldrum added that the study "demonstrates the value of Myriad Genetics' core technologies for the identification of biochemical pathways essential to human disease and the discovery of novel potential drug targets." Myriad hopes to use the technology in several potential antiretroviral drugs (Myriad Genetics release, 10/4).
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.