Miriam Hospital recruiting women to test new HIV-prevention medicine

March 30, 2017

Susan Cu-Uvin, M.D.

The Miriam Hospital is recruiting local women for a vaginal antibody safety trial. The research study will test an investigational vaginal medication to prevent transmission of HIV and HSV (genital herpes). The new medicine contains antibodies made from the Nicotiana benthamiana plant, a relative of the tobacco plant and the same plant from which antibodies have been used to treat Ebola virus patients. The Miriam is the only site in Rhode Island to take part in the study.

Participating women who test negative for pregnancy, HIV, and STDs will be assigned by chance to use either a vaginal film with the study drug or a placebo film. A total of five required study visits, including a range of physical and pelvic exams, will be completed in approximately five to nine weeks, as well as phone calls following the third visit.

“Condoms are a safe and effective way to prevent getting HIV and herpes through sexual conduct, but people don’t always use them consistently,” said Susan Cu-Uvin, M.D., director, Providence/ Boston Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), and principal investigator of the study at The Miriam Hospital. “We are trying to create other HIV and herpes prevention products that are convenient, easy to use, safe and effective.”

The Providence/Boston Center for AIDS Research is a joint research effort between Brown University/Lifespan, Boston University/Boston Medical Center and Tufts University/Tufts Medical Center. Its mission is to promote biomedical and social-behavioral research to decrease the incidence of HIV, improve its treatment and reduce its adverse consequences, particularly among women, men who have sex with men, youth, substance users, and those in the criminal justice system.

Participants in the study may be eligible if they:

  • Are women between the ages of 18 to 45 years old;
  • Abstain from sex for about three weeks of the study;
  • Are currently using effective birth control

More than 1.2 million people in the U.S. are living with HIV, and one in eight of them don't know it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study is actively recruiting volunteers at The Miriam Hospital Clinical Trials Unit at 1125 North Main St. in Providence. Participants will be compensated for their time and provided with food vouchers at some of the study visits.

For more information about the study, or to find out if you qualify, please call 401-408-4622.

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Elena Falcone-Relvas

Bradley Hospital & Hasbro Children's Hospital