UM Medical Center to lead state AIDS treatment network

November 06, 1991|By Lynda Robinson

The University of Maryland Medical Center will help speed the development of AIDS therapies by leading a new clinical network to rapidly test experimental drugs.

"We certainly do anticipate that this will help to bring some of these new experimental therapies into the state of Maryland," said Dr. John P. Johnson, director of pediatric immunology at Maryland and the lead scientific coordinator for the network.

But he could not say how many Maryland AIDS patients might be used to test new therapies.

By streamlining the design and implementation of studies, the net work should reduce the time it takes to test new drugs and therapies from 18 to six months, Dr. Johnson said.

The network, created by a five-year, $30.7 million grant from the National Institutes of Health, will oversee up to 14 studies of experimental drugs that have never been evaluated in humans or combinations of existing drugs that have not been used together in individual patients.

Some of the studies will look at the safety of a drug therapy in a small group of volunteers -- usually performed at a single center. Others will focus on the safety and effectiveness of treatments in larger groups of patients -- usually at several centers.

The Maryland network is the third established by the NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Division of AIDS, to test new therapies for HIV-infected patients.

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