LAST EDITED ON Mar-07-10 AT 09:38 PM (CST) by Rajah (admin)
HERPES CURE COALITION FOUNDED
There have been discussions about various HSV studies that are occurring throughout the global research community. In addition, there has been concern about the lack of funding to help the researchers continue their work towards designing a vaccine or cure for HSV.
Since the United States NIH and NAID as well as Global health organizations reserve a small pool of money for HSV each year and since the medical community considers it a non-threatening virus, finding a viable vaccine or cure is not a high priority. Therefore, the research teams rely on private funding to help sustain their research projects.
It is because of this drastic need for funding I have formed the Herpes Cure Coalition (HCC). This is not an official nonprofit or company but it is the name members of the US Herpes support site, herpes-coldsores have chosen to represent our grassroots movement. Our mission is to aid researchers with funding support who are the closest to a potential Herpes Cure. We achieve this mission by forming a Coalition of herpes awareness sites across the web.
Our first goal is to utilize here is to raise funds for Dr. David Bloom at the University of Florida. We believe he is closest to the cure. Our initial donation drive (before we started the new HCC) raised $2,000 to start a donation site for the University of Florida. Now Dr. Bloom needs only $40,000 more dollars so that he can complete one more phase of pre-clinical HSV-1 reactivation experiments (in a rabbit model of recurrent herpes simplex virus disease). This should enable him to begin talks with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding filing for an Investigational New Drug (IND) to initiate human trials. His plan is to then to apply to University of Florida's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at that point to get funds to help with the necessary toxicology studies for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to go forward with clinical trials ($250,000). Dr. Bloom is first focusing on HSV-1 and it is critical he makes it through the various clinical phases successfully so he can move to HSV-2 as well.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Please donate to the University of Florida research during this critical time! Remember any amount helps! For details on everything Bloom—see below.
-Herpes Cure Coalition
DR. DAVID BLOOM AND UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA DETAILS:
1. Who's the researcher and where is he out of?
Professor David C. Bloom, Ph.D. of University of Florida.
Bloom's information http://phonebook.ufl.edu/people/VHWWEWNWT/
2. What research has he done?
Professor David Bloom of University of Florida, has created a way to cut the herpes virus’ RNA to prevent reactivation. By designing special enzymes called “hammerhead ribozymes”, he's able to target a so-called “late” gene that releases its protein product relatively late after infection. With late genes, partial corruption of the genetic material is sufficient to shut down virus production, as opposed to “early” genes, which would require total inactivation to hinder the process.
3. How will this stop herpes outbreaks?
When administered by a single injection after the initial infection, the therapy provides life-long inhibition of recurring outbreaks.
4. University of Florida article on a potential new herpes therapy studied (February 2009):
A new therapy being developed at the University of Florida could, in time, produce another weapon for the fight against herpes. The gene-targeting approach uses a specially designed RNA enzyme to inhibit strains of the herpes simplex virus. The enzyme disables a gene responsible for producing a protein involved in the maturation and release of viral particles in an infected cell. The technique appears to be effective in experiments with mice and rabbits, but further research is required before it can be attempted in people who are infected with herpes.
“If things worked out the best they could, I think this could be a measure to prevent recurrence, and that would help a lot of people — and even if it just reduced severity, it would give us another therapy in cases where there is drug resistance,” said David Bloom, a virologist at the UF College of Medicine who leads the interdisciplinary research team investigating the new therapy.
“They work pretty well, and they keep the disease in check, but there’s no real cure,” said Alfred Lewin, a molecular geneticist on the research team.
Current treatments also can cause inflammation, and in many people the virus becomes resistant and there is no back-up medication. In HSV keratitis, even after a corneal transplant the virus can hide out in nerve cells and cause re-infection.
“Our approach would keep it from popping up again,” Lewin said.
The UF team — which also includes researchers and clinicians from obstetrics and gynecology, orthopedics and ophthalmology and the university’s Genetics Institute — came up with a way to cut the virus’ RNA to prevent reactivation.
By designing special enzymes called hammerhead ribozymes, the researchers were able to target a so-called “late” gene that releases its protein product relatively late after infection. With late genes, partial corruption of the genetic material is sufficient to shut down virus production, as opposed to “early” genes, which would require total inactivation to hinder the process.
“What I think is remarkable with the technology is its versatility — you can design ribozymes that will be effective against any pathogenic virus you’re interested in inhibiting,” said John M. Burke, a professor of microbiology and molecular genetics at the University of Vermont, who has studied the use of ribozymes for treating viral infections.
Burke, who is not affiliated with the research at UF, said that finding the way to get the ribozyme into an infected cell or animal or person in such a way that it can be active once inside is “the hard part” of these types of experiments.
The University of Florida team packaged the enzyme inside an adenovirus — the type of virus that causes the common cold — and injected it into the mice. Afterward, the animals were infected with potentially lethal doses of the HSV-1 virus. As a control, other mice were injected with green fluorescent protein before being exposed to the virus.
Ninety percent of the mice that were treated with the ribozyme survived, whereas the survival rate was less than 45 percent in mice not given the special enzyme.
Analysis of tissue from treated mice revealed lower viral DNA levels in the feet, nerve cells called dorsal root ganglia and the spinal cord than in mice not treated with the ribozyme.
The approach has also been tested in mouse tissue and in rabbits.
“They have found a very good experimental system in which they can convincingly show significant antiviral activity,” Burke said.
But the researchers still need to do more checks to see whether it is safe to move to human testing. Also, they want to develop more than one ribozyme, because having enzymes that attack different places on the viral RNA during replication helps prevent the virus from successfully mutating to resist treatment. They are also trying different ways of delivering the enzyme to the host cells.
One delivery technique for the eye is called iontophoresis, in which a low current pushes the treatment into the cells. The ribozyme could also be formulated into a cream to be used topically on other parts of the body.
“I would like to have it where you put it on once and forget about it,” Lewin said.
5. Progress update email from Professor Bloom (January 2010):
“We have set a milestone of completing one more phase of pre-clinical reactivation experiments (in a rabbit model of recurrent herpes simplex virus disease). This should enable us to begin talks with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding filing for an Investigational New Drug (IND) to initiate human trials. Our plan is to apply to University of Florida's Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) at that point to get funds to help with the necessary toxicology studies for Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to go forward with clinical trials ($250,000). Our current challenge has been raising the $40,000 for the current recurrence experiments (but your group's efforts in raising awareness and generating donations has helped).”
6. How can I donate to help Professor Bloom perform more of his pre-clinical reactivation experiments?
There is a way to donate online.
HSV-1 Research Program (016081) -
7. Why does Professor Bloom need donations when the University received a 26 Million Grant?
The 26 Million Grant is geared towards research that's closer to final results of research. Currently, Professor Bloom is still needing to conduct more pre-clinical experiments before he can qualify to receive grant funding. Once Professor Bloom meets the basic requirements to qualify for grant funding, he'll be requesting $250,000.
8. Is the University of Florida supporting Professor Bloom and his HSV research?
Yes, I received a message from the administrative assistant to Dr. David S. Guzick, who is the Senior Vice President of Health Affairs. In the email, the assistant stated “Dr. David Guzick read your message and asked me to write to thank you for your letter and kind words about the CTSA grant. We are also excited about Dr. Bloom’s grant and we will continue to support him.”
In another message the assistant stated:
“The CTSA is an infrastructure grant to support investigators with existing research, and to assist them in their applications for new research. Dr. Bloom and all faculty at the University of Florida can take full advantage of the CTSA.”
9. A message from University of Florida President J. Bernard Machen (September 2009):
“UF is committed to funding promising research on a wide array of diseases. Scientists make the determination as to what is worthy of the limited funding available. All investigators have access to the competitive grant process and are encouraged to participate. That is how UF moves forward in addressing society’s problems. Professor Bloom needs to have a certain amount of research completed to satisfy the requirements of the CTSA grant.”
All the best,
HC Support Forum