Published on July 26, 2012 at 6:21 AM
Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada,
announced today the publication of a study in the July 26 issue of the
leading scientific journal Nature
that provided early evidence for the use of a drug to dislodge
reservoirs of hidden virus in patients receiving treatment for HIV, the
virus that causes AIDS.
Scientists from Merck Research Laboratories collaborated with
researchers from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill,
the Harvard School of Public Health, National Cancer Institute, and the
University of California at San Diego in the study in a collaboration
initiated last year to identify new ways to purge persistent infection
of HIV from the body.
"We believe that the disruption and clearance of these virus reservoirs
is a critical first step to the daunting challenge of finding a cure for
HIV/AIDS," said Daria Hazuda, Ph.D., vice president, Merck Research
Laboratories. "We are excited about this pioneering research and remain
hopeful for its potential."
This is the first published study to show the potential for histone
deacetylase inhibitors to attack latency within dormant virus pools in a
translational clinical study. This research was first presented in March
at the Conference
on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle and more
recently at the International AIDS Conference in Washington DC.
"This work provides compelling evidence to support a strategy to
directly attack and eradicate latent HIV infection," said David
Margolis, MD, professor of medicine, microbiology and immunology, and
epidemiology at UNC at Chapel Hill, who led the study.