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Medical News & Perspectives
September 9, 1998

First "Antisense" Drug Will Treat CMV Retinitis

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JAMA. 1998;280(10):871. doi:10.1001/jama.280.10.871-JMN0909-6-1

A NEW CLASS of therapeutic agents known as "antisense" drugs is likely to become available to physicians within the next few months. These drugs operate at the molecular level, interrupting the process by which disease-causing proteins are produced.

The first of these agents to be recommended for approval by an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is fomivirsen, for use in the treatment of cytomegalovirus (CMV) retinitis, a disease leading to blindness that mainly affects persons with AIDS. The drug is manufactured by Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc, Carlsbad, Calif. If approved, it will be marketed as Vitravene.

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