NEW THERAPEUTIC strategies that lead in various clinical directions, all aimed at combating human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, were the subject of a recent multidisciplinary symposium sponsored by The Upjohn Company, Kalamazoo, Mich. The pharmaceutical firm brought together investigators from industry, academe, and government to stimulate discussion and facilitate an exchange of ideas focused on stemming the advancing tide of the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), whose cumulative death toll in the United States alone has now reached nearly 70 000.
National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Md, researchers Ira Pastan, MD, and Edward Berger, PhD, excited interest with their reports on efforts to "create a guided missile against HIV-infected cells." Building on knowledge gained from using toxins for cancer therapy and on the previous development of recombinant soluble CD4 proteins, HIV-binding "decoys" (JAMA. 1988;259:463), they have genetically engineered a hybrid toxin, linking the cytopathic portions of the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa