New Study Shows Listerine Can Fight Oral Gonorrhea

For years, the makers of Listerine mouthwash have claimed that their product could be used to combat oral gonorrhea, and now a new medical study in Australia indicates that daily use could reduce the spread of the STD.

With PrEP becoming more popular in the fight against HIV, physicians are aware that condom use is dropping. And with that, there has been a rise in some STDs like oral gonorrhea in gay/bisexual men.

But now, it seems daily gargling with Listerine could significantly reduce the amount of gonorrhea bacteria in the mouth and throat.

From the Washington Blade:

In laboratory tests, the authors of this new study found that Listerine Cool Mint and Total Care (which are both 21.6 percent alcohol) significantly reduced levels of gonorrhea bacteria. A saltwater (saline) solution did not, researchers found.

The researchers then conducted a clinical trial with 58 gay/bisexual men who previously tested positive for gonorrhea in their mouths/throats. The men were randomly assigned to rinse and gargle for one minute with either Listerine or a salt solution.

After doing so, the amount of viable gonorrhea in the throat was 52 percent in the Listerine group and 84 percent among those who used the salt solution. Five minutes later, men in the Listerine group were 80 percent less likely to test positive for gonorrhea in the throat than those in the salt solution group.

The study was published online Dec. 20 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

The monitoring period after gargling was short, so it’s possible the effects of Listerine might be short-term, but the lab findings suggest otherwise, according to the researchers.

A larger study is underway to confirm these preliminary findings.

New Approach In HIV Treatment Shows Big Success In Phase One Trials

Newly completed Phase 1 clinical trials of a new HIV treatment look promising and could lead the way to a new approach to stopping HIV using antibodies.

From the San Diego Tribune:

The drug is an antibody that neutralizes a broad range of HIV strains. The broadly neutralizing antibody, called VRC01, reduced the level of circulating virus more than 10-fold in 6 of 8 HIV-positive patients who had not received antiviral drugs.

The other two were found to have a strain of HIV resistant to the antibody. And in 15 people whose infection was already suppressed with antiviral therapy, the antibody had no effect.

In all 23 patients tested, the antibody was found safe. VRC01 kills about 90 percent of HIV strains.

Because the antibodies are made by the body, after being “trained” by the vaccine, this approach is called active immunization. Administering a prepared broadly neutralizing antibody is known as passive immunization, because it doesn’t rely on an immune response from the patient. The antibody directly attacks the virus.

While active immunization is generally the best way to fight disease, an effective HIV vaccine hasn’t been yet developed. So developing more and better treatments to stop HIV remains a high priority.

Study: No Men On PrEP Contracted HIV Over 32 Months

A new study by Kaiser Permanente published in Clinical Infectious Diseases shows that over a 32 month period exactly zero men, out of 600 participants  who took Truvada on a daily basis, contracted HIV.

Zero.

Via Gay.net:

“Our study is the first to extend the understanding of the use of PrEP in a real-world setting and suggests that the treatment may prevent new HIV infections even in a high-risk setting,” he said in a press release. “Until now, evidence supporting the efficacy of PrEP to prevent HIV infection had come from clinical trials and a demonstration project.”

However, 30 percent of participants did contract at least one sexually transmitted infection within six months of the study’s commencement. This number jumped to 50 percent after one year.

In addition, 41 percent of participants reported a decrease in condom use, in contrast to the 56 percent who said their use of condoms remained unchanged throughout the study.

First Self-Injectable HIV Treatment – PRO 140 – With 98% Success Rate Could Be Available By 2017

First self-injectable HIV treatment has 98% success rate - could be available by 2017

The first self-injectable antibody, PRO 140, has documented an impressive 98% success rate in a Phase 2b clinical trial for patients with HIV.

In a monotherapy study, some HIV patients using PRO 140 are experiencing a completely suppressed viral load for 11 months.

PRO 140 could be commercial in 2017 if it has positive results from the upcoming Phase 3 trial.

PRO 140 blocks the HIV co-receptor CCR5 on T-cells, preventing viral entry. PRO 140 effectively reduces viral loads by as much as 1.8log with one dose per week.

If the HIV patient’s viral load is completely suppressed, the transmission rate becomes almost zero.

For now, the path to first approval for PRO 140 is in the treatment experience population.

Dr. Nader Pourhassan, CytoDyn Inc. President/CEO states,

“Results from six Phase 1 and Phase 2 human clinical trials have shown that PRO 140 can significantly reduce viral load in people infected with HIV.

“Our Phase 3 protocol provides for an upcoming 25-week study with 300 HIV-positive patients. Selection of clinical sites, IRB approvals, patient screening, and other administrative matters are underway and expected to be completed in time for the first patient to be dosed in the third quarter of this year. Although CytoDyn has a green light to start its Phase 3 clinical trial of PRO 140, the Company may apply for a ‘breakthrough’ designation with PRO 140 as the first self-injectable antibody for HIV therapy.”

Phase 3 trials are expected to be conducted at over 30 sites in the U.S. The Company plans to submit its NDA (New Drug Application) for final approval of PRO 140 in November of 2016.

(via press release)

Scientists Develop Sub-Dermal Implant To Deliver 40 Days Of HIV Meds

Scientists from the Oak Crest Institute of Science, in Pasadena, CA, report that they have developed a matchstick size implant, similar to a contraceptive implant, that successfully delivers a controlled, sustained release of ARV drugs for up to 40 days in dogs with no adverse side effects.

“To our knowledge this is the first implant to be used for this purpose,” says Dr. Marc Baum, president and founder of Oak Crest.

Medical practitioners and scientists acknowledge that one of the main drawbacks in current medical treatments is the problem of adherence. “It’s unfortunate, but patients do not always follow the dosing instructions as prescribed,” says Dr. Baum.

“In clinical trials erratic administration of drugs has led to highly variable efficacy outcomes. That’s what peaked our interest in the possible use of a subdermal implant for the prevention of HIV,” suggests Dr. Baum.

“We are very pleased with the results of our preliminary studies and are working diligently to develop a subdermal implant for HIV prevention that will remain effective for a full 12 months.”

(from Science Daily)

Australian Researchers Find New Treatment For Alzheimers

If this ends up working, this would be fantastic.

Researchers at the University at Queensland in Australia have found a treatment that appears to help remove one of the kinds of plaque in the brain that lead to Alzheimers:

Publishing in Science Translational Medicine, the team describes the technique as using a particular type of ultrasound called a focused therapeutic ultrasound, which non-invasively beams sound waves into the brain tissue. By oscillating super-fast, these sound waves are able to gently open up the blood-brain barrier, which is a layer that protects the brain against bacteria, and stimulate the brain’s microglial cells to move in. Microglila cells are basically waste-removal cells, so once they get past the blood-brain barrier, they’re able to clear out the toxic beta-amyloid clumps before the blood-brain barrier is restored within a few hours.

The team reports fully restoring the memories of 75 percent of the mice they tested it on, with zero damage to the surrounding brain tissue. They found that the treated mice displayed improved performance in three memory tasks – a maze, a test to get them to recognise new objects, and one to get them to remember the places they should avoid.

If all goes well, human trials could begin as early as 2017.

New vaccine for melanoma clears Phase III study

A new vaccine from Amgen developed to target melanoma showed strong results in a Phase III study involving 295 patients:

The drug, talimogene laherparepvec, also known as T-vec, is an engineered virus designed to replicate inside the injected tumor, killing cancer cells there, as well as prime the immune system to attack other cancer cells around body.

Dr. Robert Andtbacka, one of the study’s lead investigators, in a telephone interview, called the results “very encouraging.”

Amgen last year released initial data from the 295-patient Phase III study showing that T-vec succeeded in demonstrating a significant tumor response that lasted at least six months. The latest data analyzed 4,000 tumor lesions to study the response to the drug in injected versus non-injected tumors.

Of the directly injected tumors, 64 percent shrank by at least half, and 47 percent of those had a complete response, meaning the lesion had disappeared, researchers said.

Of the uninjected lesions in the skin or lymph nodes, known as non-visceral tumor lesions, 34 percent shrank by at least half with a complete response seen in 21 percent of those.

Melanoma is one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer. The World Health Organization reports approximately 132,000 cases a year.