Mayo Clinic reports case of brain disease in an AIDS patient and positive response to antiviral agent

December 24, 2001

ROCHESTER, MINN. -- Mayo Clinic researchers report the successful use of an antiviral drug to combat a brain disease that is responsible for death in as many as five percent of patients with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS).

In the case described by the researchers, a 55-year-old man developed a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a virus-induced demyelinating disease. This viral infection occurred about six months after the patient began highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for AIDS. The patient experienced double vision, slurred speech, lacked muscle coordination in walking and numbness and clumsiness on the left side of his body. Although HAART also has proven effective against PML in patients with AIDS, this does not always hold true, even in patients with partially restored immune function.

With the addition of cidofovir, an antiviral agent, the patient's condition gradually improved and he was able to perform his activities of daily living without assistive devices, such as a cane, within six months of starting the therapy. The researchers say the case described will contribute to the growing body of data on the successful use of HAART-cidofovir combination therapy for PML.

The researchers published their case study in the November 2001 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "PML remains a devastating complication in AIDS patients even in the era of HAART," said Raymund R. Razonable, M.D., the lead author on the case and a Mayo Clinic infectious disease specialist. "The continued threat of PML to the success of present HIV care emphasizes the urgent need for an effective therapeutic strategy."
Lisa Copeland
Mayo Clinic External Relations
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings)

Mayo Clinic

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