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Volunteers Sought for AZT Tests : VA Joins Study of AIDS-Related Drug

March 15, 1987

The West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center is seeking veterans to participate in a VA study of the new drug AZT (azidothymidine) to determine its effectiveness in treatment of AIDS-related complex (ARC).

The purpose of the study, according to Dr. Sydney Finegold, director of the study at the West Los Angeles center where he is associate chief of staff for research and development, is to determine whether AZT therapy can halt the course of the disease.

Finegold said that interested veterans should contact the outpatient clinic at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center.

AIDS-related complex is a stage of the viral infection thought to precede AIDS. Symptoms may include exhaustion, fever, night sweats, diarrhea, swollen lymph glands, loss of appetite and weight and skin rashes. Those most at risk are intravenous drug users, homosexu1634476129partners.

The study will last four years and is the first to evaluate AZT's long-term benefits and toxicity. It is hoped that by focusing on the pre-AIDS stage, the study will contribute to the scant knowledge of the disease's natural history, according to Dr. Lance George, chief of infectious disease and co-director of the West Los Angeles study.

For example, he said, it is not known what determines whether ARC patients go on to develop AIDS or, if all ARC patients get AIDS eventually.

The VA has cared for at least 5% of the 30,000 known AIDS cases in the country. Finegold said the number of people with ARC is unknown, but the VA conservatively estimates it at 10 times the AIDS cases, or more than 300,000 to date.

Burroughs Wellcome pharmaceutical company, manufacturer of AZT, is providing the drug for the study's duration. The U.S. Army is providing substantial funding and protocol review. The Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., will provide laboratory support along with the VA Medical Center in Baltimore.

The research will be administered through the VA Cooperative Studies Program Coordinating Center in West Haven, Conn., and the VA Cooperative Studies Program Research Pharmacy Coordinating center in Albuquerque, N.M.

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