US Pharm. 2007;32(8):HS40.

Genes May Have Role in Colorectal and Prostate Cancers
Several studies suggest there may be a common genetic link to the development of colorectal and prostate cancers.

Malcolm Dunlop, MD, of the University of Edinburgh, said the findings are likely to question how the malignancies develop, as a small percentage of patients were found to have a common thread, although he cautions that the exact pathway is still unknown. The results of the study, led by Brent Zanke, MD, PhD, of Cancer Care Ontario, were reported online in Nature Genetics along with results of case controls studies from the U.S. and U.K. According to U.S. researcher Christopher Haiman, PhD, of the University of Southern California, this is the first time a common genetic risk factor has been shown to be associated with multiple cancer types.

Drug in Development May Block HIV Virus
According to Calvin Cohen, MD, of the Community Research Initiative of New England and Harvard Medical School, a new drug in early development may be effective in blocking the HIV virus from entering cells. Early results show that the drug, known as INCB009471, exhibited a long half-life and lowered the viral load for up to two weeks after the treatment was stopped.

The results were presented at the International AIDS Society meeting held this summer in Sydney, Australia. The drug is a member of a class of drugs known as CCR5 inhibitors, which block one of the molecular pathways used by HIV to enter target cells. Dr. Cohen indicated that an added benefit of the drug is the fact that because of its long period of efficacy, it is possible that it might have to be taken only every few days, rather than once or more a day. Patients in the trial exhibited no serious adverse events and no participants dropped out of the study because of the drug's side effects.

Diaphragms Do Not Offer More HIV Protection than Condoms Alone
Three open-label, randomized, controlled studies in Africa revealed that a diaphragm and gel does not lower a woman's risk of HIV infection any less than the use of a condom alone. The results were documented by Nancy Padian, PhD, of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues and presented online in Lancet.

The study, known as the Methods for Improving Reproductive Health in Africa (MIRA) trial, was conducted to find ways of preventing HIV transmission that, unlike condoms, would be controlled by women. The hopes that a diaphragm would show positive results were founded in the fact that a diaphragm can be inserted discreetly and that previous evidence suggests they block HIV from entering especially vulnerable tissues of the cervix.

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