It was in the 1980s that American households first heard about HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Since the HIV epidemic began in the 1980s, the virus has continued to affect millions around the world—including more than 1.2 million people in the United States who are currently living with HIV. Of those 1.2 million-plus individuals, one in eight doesn’t even know they have HIV, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (http://nnw.fm/n7Z9t).
Over the years, many advancements have been made in the treatment of HIV, but, clearly, there are still strides to be made in fighting this devastating virus and preventing the havoc it wreaks on the human immune system.
Many doctors currently prescribe multi-drug combination therapy to HIV patients in an effort to avoid HIV cell mutation and the development of single-therapy resistance. The following classes of antiretroviral drugs are currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV and AIDS (http://nnw.fm/rLO6w):
- Nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NRTIs)
- Nonnucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors (NNRTIs)
- Protease Inhibitors (PIs)
- Fusion Inhibitors
- Entry Inhibitors – CCR5 co-receptor antagonist
- HIV integrase strand transfer inhibitors
The advent of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) has made HIV-1 infection manageable as a chronic disease for patients with access to treatment and who achieve durable virologic suppression, but there is more to be done.
One biotechnology company, CytoDyn Inc. (OTCQB: CYDY), currently stands out for its pioneering efforts to develop humanized monoclonal antibodies to treat HIV infection with many advantages over current standard of care.
CytoDyn’s lead product, PRO 140, is the first self-administered antibody therapy for HIV in late-stage clinical trials and addresses the primary reasons for failings of HAART, such as side effects, toxicity, drug resistance and compliance issues. In 200 patients involved in more than seven clinical trials, PRO 140 has demonstrated only minor side effects with hardly any toxicity. Further, no drug resistance, no serious adverse effects and no negative impact on immune function have been evidenced. Because PRO 140 is administered via once-weekly, self-administered subcutaneous injection, compliance issues are also improved in comparison to HAART.
Not only is PRO 140 one of the most advanced experimental monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of HIV, it is believed that PRO 140 will help patients with complicating issues, including single- or multi-drug resistance, intolerance to currently available therapies due to toxicity and side effects, and complex medical needs or compromised organ function.
PRO 140 is part of a new class of HIV/AIDS therapeutics called viral-entry inhibitors that are intended to protect healthy cells from being infected. This humanized monoclonal antibody binds to CCR5, which is the HIV entry receptor, and blocks HIV entry into white blood cells.
PRO 140 is currently being evaluated in combination with HAART (in a pivotal, Phase 2b/3 trial) and as an alternative to HAART (in a Phase 2b/3 monotherapy trial). There are also pipeline opportunities for non-HIV indications for PRO 140, including transplantation, autoimmunity, cancer and chronic inflammation.
For more information, visit www.CytoDyn.com
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