ACU alum heads study of preventive AIDS vaccine


For immediate release
May 12, 1999

Dr. Stephen Tyring, a '73 graduate of ACU, is spearheading a project at the University of Texas Medical Branch initiating the first large-scale clinical trial to test a preventive AIDS vaccine.

The vaccine is made by VaxGen Inc. of Brisbane, Calif., and is the first AIDS vaccine to make it to Phase III human trials to test for effectiveness.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the trial in June 1998. UTMB is the first test site in Texas.

This vaccine may or may not be proven to prevent HIV. The study directors will not know its effectiveness until the study concludes in 2002, but the intial trial may give important information about AIDS vaccines in general.

"We're going to learn a lot about the immune reactions to the principal components of the virus," said Tyring, UTMB professor of dermatology, microbiology/immunology and internal medicine, in an interview for Impact, a UTMB newsletter. "Even if this doesn't turn out to be the AIDS vaccine, it will contribute to knowledge that may lead to one we can eventually use."

The study will operate by enrolling 5,000 people in the United States who are at risk for contracting the virus through sexual means, and another 2,500 people &endash; intravenous drug users &endash; will be enrolled in Thailand.

The vaccine is intended to work by prompting the body to produce antibodies and other immune responses that will linger to combat the AIDS virus if a person is later exposed to the virus.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at craigt@nicanor.acu.edu or call 915-674-2692.


Last update: May 14, 1999
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