ST. JUDE: Halts Two Gene Therapy Trials Over AIDS Fears
Researchers at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., have stopped two gene therapy trials because of concerns that the genetically altered cancer cells being injected into children might contain the AIDS and hepatitis viruses. The decision, which follows a FDA-mandated suspension last month of a different trial at the hospital due to similar concerns, was triggered by an internal review that found the cells being used may not have been tested for viral contamination as required, Dr. Paula Bowman, who oversees the studies, said. Researchers said children who received the cells are being tested for infection, and they intend to resume treatments if no indication of contamination is found. FDA officials, who are investigating the violations that led to the first contamination scare, declined to comment on the new problem (Weiss/Nelson, Washington Post, 3/9).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.