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Gay Men's Health Crisis
DRUG WATCH: First Human Data on Effectiveness of Antisense Drugs
David Gold and Dave Gilden
June 1, 1994
GMHC Treatment Issues 1994 Jun 1; 8(4): 7

Isis Pharmaceuticals of San Diego is reporting encouraging preliminary data on its antisense compound aimed at CMV, blocking a gene necessary for the virus's reproduction. The drug, ISIS 2922, is injected weekly into the patients' eyes to arrest CMV retinitis. CMV-associated retinal lesions resolved (leaving inactive patches) in all five members of the ISIS 2922 trial's high-dose arm. The same happened to two of three volunteers receiving the medium dose. There have been no relapses so far in up to four months of treatment. All these patients had failed or become intolerant of the standard CMV therapies, ganciclovir and foscarnet. Despite these positive results (which were publicized by the company's PR department), Isis insists that it is premature to begin a compassionate use program for people outside of the Isis trials who are doing poorly on the approved CMV retinitis medications.

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