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CROI 2012 Preview: Which Studies Are Most Likely to Make Waves

By Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D.

March 1, 2012

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D.

Benjamin Young, M.D., Ph.D.

Like Capistrano sparrows, HIV researchers and clinicians from around the world return to North America at the end of each winter for the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI). Known as one of the highest-quality scientific meetings on HIV and its complications, the 19th edition will be held next week in Seattle, Wash.

For me, it's been a couple of years since my last attendance, but CROI is a place to catch up with the latest in HIV basic science, the newest clinical medicine and new drugs. It's where I learn about new treatment strategies, clinical trials and the HIV drug pipeline. It's also a place to catch up with mentors and old friends.

This year, I'm anticipating learning about advances in several major thematic areas. Here are a few of the many presentations that I'm looking forward to hearing more about. Let's hope that the rain stays away.

New Therapies/Strategies

The current HIV pipeline looks rich, with several new drugs and coformulations in advance-stage clinical development.


HIV Prevention

This was perhaps the hottest subject area last year, when a number of studies showcased the important role of antiretrovirals in the prevention of new HIV infections. Whether it's the reduction of viral load in HIV-infected individuals, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or microbicides, these are among the many sure-to-be discussed sessions.

Non-AIDS Complications

A long-emerging theme; as our patients live longer and better on HIV treatments, there's a growing concern about their long-term health. Among these hot-button topics are issues related to neurocognitive health, osteoporosis and malignancy; all will be highlighted in interesting presentations.


If the HIV drug discovery pipeline is hot, then the hepatitis antiviral pipeline is white hot. The first two direct-acting agents were approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year, with dozens more in the pipeline. Data on these drugs are sorely missing regarding the treatment of HIV/HCV-coinfected persons; the session on Tuesday, March 6, will provide key information. Meanwhile, long-term data on treatment of hepatitis B with tenofovir will be looked at with interest for the many patients (especially in South Asia) who are living with this virus.

Look for more of our CROI 2012 coverage at in the days to come.

Copyright © 2012 Remedy Health Media, LLC. All rights reserved.

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