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Nucleic Acids Research, CytRx and Advanced BioScience Labs, Lorus, AVI, and Isis


Nucleic Acids Research Publishes Database Issue

Nucleic Acids Research has published its 2004 database issue, the eleventh in a series of issues dedicated to biological databases. Included in the issue is an article entitled “RNAiDB and PhenoBlast: Web Tools for Genome-Wide Phenotypic Mapping Projects.”

The article, written by researchers from the Center for Comparative Functional Genomics at New York University’s department of biology, describes the RNAi Database, an online source of phenotypic data from large-scale RNAi experiments in C. elegans.

“The database contains a compendium of publicly available data and provides information on experimental methods and phenotypic results, including raw data in the form of images and streaming time-lapse movies,” the authors wrote. “Phenotypic summaries together with graphical displays of RNAi to gene mappings allow quick intuitive comparison of results from different RNAi assays and visualization of the gene product(s) potentially inhibited by each RNAi experiment based on multiple sequence analysis methods.”

The authors add that “RNAiDB could serve as a model database for distributing and navigating in vivo functional information from large-scale systematic phenotypic analyses in different organisms.”

The entire database issue of Nucleic Acids Research is freely available at

CytRx Plans Filing of HIV Vaccine with FDA, Forms Alliance with Advanced BioScience Labs

CytRx said last week that it expects to file an investigational new drug application to begin clinical testing of a DNA-based HIV vaccine with US regulators by the end of January.

The vaccine uses technology CytRx licensed from the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Advanced BioScience Laboratories.

The project has, to date, been funded entirely by the National Institutes of Health. CytRx said that the $15 million received from the NIH will be sufficient to fund the phase I trial, which will be conducted by UMMS under a subcontracting arrangement.

CytRx said that the phase I trial is expected to begin 30 days after the IND is cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration, and will last roughly 12 to 18 months.

CytRx also said last week that it has signed an agreement to assume from Advanced BioScience the ownership and responsibility for the HIV vaccine FDA registration after the phase I study is completed.

Advanced BioScience will have the option to acquire the vaccine’s manufacturing rights should it be approved by the FDA.

CytRx also said that Advanced BioScience and UMMS have filed a joint patent application in the US and elsewhere covering the HIV vaccine technology.

Patented HIV protein boost technology has also been added to CytRx’s license to the vaccine technology. In exchange, UMMS and Advanced BioScience will receive milestones and royalties for the current HIV vaccine and additional HIV vaccines using the technology, said CytRx.

Lorus Begins Phase II Trial of Antisense Cancer Drug

Lorus Therapeutics said last week that it has begun a phase II trial of the antisense drug GTI-2501 as a treatment for hormone refractory prostate cancer in combination with the chemotherapeutic agent docetaxel.

GTI-2501 specifically targets the R1 component of ribonucleotide reductase, which is required for DNA synthesis and cell division, said Lorus.

AVI Says Phase II Data of Antisense Restenosis Drug Confirmed

AVI BioPharma said last week that it has confirmed using intravascular ultrasound data from a phase II study showing that the company’s antisense drug Resten-NG resulted in a 75 percent reduction in the restenosis rate in patients following angioplasty and stent placement.

In the study, 57 patients were randomized to either a subtherapeutic dose of Resten-NG or a therapeutic dose of the drug, or to be part of a control group.

According to AVI, the restenosis rate was 33.3 percent in both the control and subtherapeutic dose treatment arms, and 8.3 percent in the therapeutic dose treatment arm.

Isis Begins Phase I Trial of Antisense Drug for Cardiovascular Disease

Isis Pharmaceuticals said this week that it has begun a phase I study of ISIS 301012, an antisense inhibitor of ApoB-100, for cardiovascular disease.

ApoB-100 is the carrier of low density lipid (LDL) cholesterol, but has been considered undruggable by traditional approaches, Isis said.

The study will enroll 40 healthy volunteers with elevated cholesterol, and will evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and ability of the drug to reduce several components of cholesterol.

The Scan

Vaccine Update Recommended

A US Food and Drug Administration panel recommends booster vaccines be updated to target Omicron, CNBC reports.

US to Make More Vaccines for Monkeypox Available

The US is to make nearly 300,000 vaccine doses available in the coming weeks to stem the spread of human monkeypox virus, according to NPR.

Sentence Appealed

The Associated Press reports that Swedish prosecutors are appealing the sentence given to a surgeon once lauded for transplanting synthetic tracheas but then convicted of causing bodily harm.

Genome Biology Papers on COVID-19 Effector Genes, Virtual ChIP-seq, scDART

In Genome Biology this week: proposed COVID-19 effector genes, method to predict transcription factor binding patterns, and more.