The liposomal form of an antibiotic alleviated symptoms andlowered infection colony counts in one of the leading causes ofdeath from AIDS, according to a report presented Wednesday bythe Liposomal Co. Inc. to the Seventh International Conferenceon AIDS in Florence, Italy.

TLC G-65, a liposomal form of the antibiotic gentamicin,showed activity against Mycobacterium avium-intracellulare(MAI) in a Phase I/II study of AIDS patients conducted by thecompany.

MAI is an intracellular infection that resides insidemacrophages in the liver and spleen. Most antibiotics can't getinside the macrophages. However, macrophages recognizeliposomes as foreign and ingest them. Once inside themacrophages, the liposome membrane breaks down, releasingthe antibiotic.

MAI afflicts between 30 percent and 50 percent of AIDSpatients in the United States, causing high fever, night sweats,diarrhea, weight loss, severe anemia and death. There is noeffective treatment.

MAI may have replaced Pneumocystis carinii as the leadingcause of death in AIDS patients now that aerosolizedpentamidine is available to treat Pneumocystis, according to asurvey conducted at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas byDr. Stephen Nightingale, lead investigator for TLC G-65.

In the Phase I/II trials, TLC G-65 relieved symptoms,particularly night sweats, in 10 of 21 patients. In addition,four of 17 patients had a greater than 90 percent reduction inMAI colony counts in the blood. The Liposome Co. of Princeton,N.J., will conduct further trials with more intensive initialdosing and longer duration.

The company's stock (NASDAQ:LIPO) closed at $8.38, up 25cents, on Wednesday.

-- Karen Bernstein BioWorld Staff

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