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Researchers Are Optimistic About New Drug for AIDS AL721


BOSTON, Nov. 14--Researchers at the National Cancer Institute say they are optimistic that a new drug called AL721 will fight the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) virus without many of the serious side effects of other drugs.

"AL721 is a promising new candidate for clinical investigation in the treatment of AIDS and AIDS-related complex," scientists said in a letter to the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"But it should be emphasized that results so far are very preliminary and that much more work will be required to determine the clinical usefulness of this agent," said the letter, signed by Drs. Robert Gallo and Prem S. Sarin from the NCI and researchers from Yale University, the University of Florida and Matrix Research Laboratories, makers of the drug.

The drug attacks the AIDS virus by breaking down its outer shell. With its shell not intact, the virus cannot infect cells. AL721, when mixed in a test tube with human cells and HTLV-III, the virus that causes AIDS, slows its spread among cells. Preliminary trials found the drug restored immune system function in elderly people without adverse side effects.

"AL721 is a drug with a novel mechanism of action compared to other AIDS drugs currently being studied," Sarin said in a statement released by the NCI. "The drug appears to be nontoxic for normal cel ls grown in the lab.

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Copyright © 1985 -United Press International, Publisher. All rights reserved to United Press International. Reproduced with permission. Reproduction of this article (other than one copy for personal reference) must be cleared through United Press International, Permissions Desk, 1510 H St. N.W. Washington DC 2005. Main Phone Switchboard: 202-898-8000 FAX: 202-898-8057 or 202-898-8147 Email United Press International.

Information in this article was accurate in November 15, 1985. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.