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REI medical/research briefs

Monthly synopsis of research activities at REI

LA BioMed

Study Finds Few New Antibiotics Are in the Pipeline

Citation: Clinical Infectious Disease, May 1, 2004

Despite a critical need for new antibiotics to treat drug-resistant and other infectious disease, very few antibiotics are being developed, according to a study in the May 1 issues of Clinical Infectious Disease.

REI researchers evaluated FDA databases of approved drugs and found that FDA approvals of new antibiotics declined 56 percent during the past 20 years. Researchers found only six new antibiotics in the R & D pipeline out of 506 drugs being developed. "Pharmaceutical companies appear to be more interested in developing drugs that patients take for life", says lead author Brad Spellberg, MD. "By comparison, antibiotics are usually prescribed for one or two weeks at most."

Researchers Identify Unifying Structural Code Among Diverse Classes of Natural Antibiotics

Citation: Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United Sates of America (PNAS), May 2004

Investigators at REI have identified a novel structural signature that is conserved in otherwise distinct classes of antimicrobial peptides. Antimicrobial peptides are small, naturally occurring protein antibiotics that protect organisms against infection. The discovery of such a broadly encompassing structural signature within these ancient host defense peptides could significantly accelerate development of novel molecules to fight multi-drug resistant infections.

"We believe this discovery offers new insights into the evolution of immune defense against infection," said Nanette Yount, PhD, and Michael Yeaman, PhD.

Testosterone Gel Study First to Show Long-term Benefits and Safety

Citation: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, May 4, 2004

Long-term use of testosterone gel is safe and effective for men with low testosterone, according to a new study published in the May 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. The study, the first to examine safety and efficacy of testosterone gel up to 42 months, was conducted at multiple research centers under the direction of REI investigators.

"This is great news for men suffering from low testosterone," said Ronald Swerdloff, MD. "Doctors can be reassured that with proper monitoring testosterone therapy is safe and effective for their patient."

In April, Dr. Swerdloff received the Distinguished Andrologist Award from the American Society of Andrologists (ASA) for his outstanding contributions to the progress of andrology.

Anthrax Vaccine to Begin Phase 2 Trials

The UCLA Center for Vaccine Research, a leading research program at the Research and Education Institute (REI) at Harbor - UCLA Medical Center, announced that it has initiated a Phase II trial of a new anthrax vaccine, rPA102 (VaxGen, Inc.). The 13-month trial is taking place at 12 medical centers in the United States and is one of two studies of rPA102 initiated this year under a multi-year, $80.3 million U.S. government contract to VaxGen, Inc. from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

Healthy adults, 18 to 55 years of age, who have not received an anthrax vaccine and have not been exposed to anthrax, are needed to participate in this study. Participants will need to be available for 14 visits to the clinic (Torrance) over a one-year period. Participants will be compensated up to $700 for completion of study visits.

For further information on how to take part in this trial, please call 1-800-637-8860.


The Research and Education Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is one of the largest independent, not-for-profit biomedical research institutes in Los Angeles County. Affiliated with both the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, the Institute has an annual budget of over $65 million and currently supports more than 1,000 research studies in areas such as cardiology, emerging infections, cancer, women's health, reproductive health, vaccine research, respiratory physiology, neonatology, molecular biology, and genetics. REI also plays a pivotal role in the training of young physician-scientists and scientists-to-be and is active in promoting the health and well being of nearby communities through community service programs that meet a variety of important social and medical needs.

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