EMPRO (European Microbicides Project), the five-year project launched in 2004 under the aegis of the EU Sixth Framework Programme (FP6) aimed at developing new microbicides to prevent HIV infection, announces phase one clinical trials. The clinical trials to test the safety of the formulation will be conducted in the UK on a group of 46 women (one-third treated with a high-dose of antibodies, one-third with a low-dose of antibodies and one-third with a placebo). The three monoclonal antibodies (C2F5, C2G12 and C4E10) developed by Polymun, an Austrian-based partner of the EMPRO Consortium, have shown therapeutic effects. For the clinical trials, the antibodies will be formulated in a gel as topically applied microbicides. “The antibodies developed by Polymun are widely used by the scientific community for research and described in many publications. In addition their unique neutralization properties, consistent quality, high purity and absence of protein additives make them valuable tools in obtaining more reliable research results,” commented Charles Kelly, EMPRO Project Coordinator and Professor at King’s College London. “That’s why we have high hopes for the results of the phase one clinical trial and that it will prove the first step in the speedy development of an effective formulation.” The antibodies have been designed to guide the immune system’s defences towards their target by: - directly eliminating invading agents (e.g. in mucosal surfaces) - neutralizing infectious agents by blocking essential steps in the infective process - activation of sterilizing immune functions (e.g. via the complement system or cytotoxic cells).
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