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RSV Researcher Makes Gains in Finding Treatments
Date:4/10/2008

MEMPHIS, Tenn., April 10 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Leading RSV investigator Dr. John DeVincenzo has taken another step toward finding effective treatment for the disease that causes bronchiolitis and pneumonia according to the Centers for Disease Control. RSV, or respiratory syncytial virus -- is the leading cause of hospitalization of infants in the US and one of the leading causes of viral death in this age group.

DeVincenzo is using the process of RNAi to target RSV. Clinical trials of ALN-RSV01, a treatment that applies new RNA processing discoveries, have demonstrated that the drug was safe and had statistically significant anti-viral activity in experimentally infected adults. The treatment showed a reduced infection rate from approximately 70 percent to 40 percent and doubled the number of uninfected subjects.

"ALN-RSV01 offers a potential new therapeutic approach for the treatment of RSV infection, a serious respiratory viral disease that leads to the hospitalization of nearly 300,000 pediatric and adult patients annually in the U.S. alone," said DeVincenzo.

DeVincenzo, an investigator at the Children's Foundation Research Center located at Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center and the University of Tennessee, is attempting to develop the first human therapeutic that uses the 2006 Nobel Prize winning discovery of RNA interference, or RNAi. "Harnessing RNA interference could be used to conceptually treat many diseases," DeVincenzo said. "RNA interference can theoretically block the production of any disease-causing protein."

Thus, its potential application includes blocking oncogenic proteins that cause cancer and applications to other diseases as wide-ranging as genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis and other common diseases such as cardiovascular disease.

DeVincenzo's RSV study is the first definitive proof that RNA-interference-based therapeutics can work in humans. He is working with Alnylam Pharmaceu
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SOURCE Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center
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