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Vertex Pharmaceuticals Incorporated Message Board

  • thirdmeinvestor thirdmeinvestor Oct 21, 2006 1:37 PM Flag

    Optimist's view of the Rash problem

    The cause of rash is unknown, but one can make an educated guess at the problem that popped up for few patients in the trial.

    A healthy immune system can destroy HCV virus if HCV does not disarm our immune system (HCV protease mess up cells' communication network to achieve this). Protease inhibitors such VX950 disable this HCV's weapon by blocking its activity.

    One of ways that our immune system fights viruses like HCV is the outright killing of the infected cells. HCV counters this by preventing the cell destruction, of course, for their own survival.

    Hence, when HCV patients are treated with 950 and IFN, 950 blocks HCV's ability to sabotage our immune system on one hand and IFN boosts our immune system on the other. This combination is a two-prong assault on the infected liver cells. Our liver would respond to this attack on infected cells just as if it were directed to normal cells. Rash could be the reaction to the liver cell harming.

    Therefore, the observed rash could be an indicator that the treatment is working. The severer the rash the better benefit of treatment. The correlation between rash and success of treatment may not be a strong one because other factors would influence the degree of severity.

    VX-950 may make rash worse than IFN/RBV alone, but rash is a success indicator rather than mere side-effect.

    There are examples of this type of rash/success correlation in targeted cancer therapy. Imclone's Erbtux, Osip's Tarceva,...... work well for patients who get rash from treatment; worse rash gives better outcome.

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