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NEWS - Drugs in The Pipeline

Attacking the Hepatitis C Virus with New Mechanisms of Action: Drugs in the Pipeline

Paul J Pockros, M.D.

A number of strategies for drug development have focused on the combination of antiviral therapy in the form of pegylated interferon with approaches to modulate and/or induce a cellular immune response [4]. These strategies have been based on the successful outcome of combination therapy of interferon or pegylated interferon with ribavirin, which has been the standard of care for treatment of hepatitis C in the US and the EU since 1998 [5-7]. Challenges facing our current treatment of HCV include lack of efficacy in patients with difficult-to-treat disease, such as patients with cirrhosis or infected with HCV genotype 1 (who represent a majority of US HCV infections), the toxicity of combination therapy, the expense and difficulty of therapy and the poor reception of these treatments by many patients. The development of new hepatitis C antiviral agents is critical to our management of this disease. A number of approaches are under investigation, including long-acting interferons; immunomodulators such as Interleukin-12, IL-10 and IL-2, histamine, thymosin alpha-1, IMPDH inhibitors, TNF antagonists, oral interferon like molecules, ribavirin and ribavirin analogues, and hepatoprotectants; antifibrotics; specific HCV-derived enzyme inhibitors, drugs that either block HCV antigen production from RNA or prevent normal processing of HCV proteins;
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and other molecular approaches to treating HCV, such as ribozymes, short interfering RNAs, antisense oligonucleotides, immune blockers and therapeutic vaccines.


A number of different technologies are being studied which might offer alternative strategies for sustained IFN release into the circulation. These include the following:

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Great info. I'm including a press release from Vertex that hasn't made the rounds of the hepc boards yet.
<br> <a href="http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040504/netu027_1.html">
Update on merimepodib and VX-950 Vertex </a>.<BR>
Still waiting for Boehringer to return my emails from the past year. They still insist that current trials for BILN 2061 are halted (bummer!
<a href="http://us.boehringer-ingelheim.com/about/pressreleases/102803_hepatitis.html">Here </a>
is the "latest" from their web site.

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Just to clarify- merimepodib and VX-497 are the same animal.

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fonzz - thanks for the links - lets hope the VX-950 is well tolerated in humans in the Phase I trial. And that the merimepodib proves well in the broader Phase II trial.

Scott - thanks for the Johns Hopkins link above. They really have put together a great site - with wonderful information and presentations.

Avatar universal
I apologize for making a posting boo-boo down below and inadvertantly closing the thread. I'd like to blame it on Frain Bog - if anyone will let me.

I was going to add a note to that post - that last study used only interferon on the extended patients. And the Benelux study used the non-pegylated form of interferon.

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