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National Institute of Allergy and
Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
http://www.niaid.nih.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, Aug. 4, 2005

Media Contact:
Anne A. Oplinger
(301) 402-1663
niaidnews@niaid.nih.gov
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New Agreement Will Speed Research Efforts on Microbicides for Women

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, today announced an agreement with the International Partnership for Microbicides (IPM) to share information and expertise in an effort to develop vaginal microbicides, which are creams, gels or other substances that can be applied topically and may reduce the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

“There is an urgent need for products, such as microbicides, that women can use to protect themselves from HIV,” notes NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. “We know that women make up nearly half of all people living with HIV worldwide and that most cases of new HIV infection in women are the result of heterosexual intercourse. This new agreement draws on complementary strengths of our two organizations to speed the progress of promising microbicides through the research and development pipeline.”

Adds IPM Chief Executive Officer Zeda Rosenberg, Sc.D., “This agreement opens the door to a range of scientific collaborations that we hope will lead to an effective microbicide as soon as possible.”

Although no licensed microbicide is currently available, large-scale effectiveness trials of five candidate microbicides are under way, including an NIAID-sponsored trial that opened in February 2005. That trial is described at http://www2.niaid.nih.gov/Newsroom/Releases/2microbicides.htm.

The agreement between NIAID and IPM includes plans for regular interaction between the scientific leadership of the two organizations, information-sharing meetings and joint meetings with microbicide developers supported by NIAID and IPM.

NIAID brings funding resources and expertise in topical microbicide discovery and early product development for HIV and other STIs to the partnership, while IPM has enhanced capacity to design optimal microbicide formulations, manufacture pilot lots of microbicides for clinical testing and implement clinical trials, says Roberta Black, Ph.D., NIAID’s Topical Microbicide Team Leader. The relationship between NIAID and IPM, adds Dr. Black, should help accelerate the advance of selected candidate microbicides through key steps, such as formulation optimization, process development and scale-up for manufacture, in the research and development pathway.

IPM, headquartered in Silver Spring, MD, is a public/private partnership established to accelerate the development and accessibility of microbicides to prevent the transmission of HIV in the developing world. By screening compounds, designing optimal formulations, establishing manufacturing capacity, developing trial sites and conducting access studies, the organization works to improve the efficiency of all efforts to develop and deliver safe and effective microbicides as soon as possible.



NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at www.niaid.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

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Last Updated August 04, 2005