In findings that open the door to a completely different approach to curing HIV infections, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have for the first time shown that a novel compound effectively suppresses production of the virus in chronically infected cells, and prevents viral rebound, even when those infected cells are subjected to vigorous stimulation.
The study, led by TSRI Associate Professor Susana Valente, was published online Oct. 17 before print in the journal Cell Reports.
“No other anti-retroviral used in the clinic today is able to completely suppress viral production in infected cells in vivo,” Valente said. “When combining this drug with the standard cocktail of anti-retrovirals used to suppress infection in humanized mouse models of HIV-1 infection, our study found a drastic reduction in virus RNA present—it is really the proof-of-concept for a ‘functional cure.’”
Valente, a pioneer in this new approach, calls it “Block-and-Lock”—the approach blocks reactivation of the virus in cells, even during treatment interruptions, and locks HIV into durable state of latency.
Valente and her colleagues use a derivative of a natural compound called didehydro-Cortistatin A (dCA), which blocks replication in HIV-infected cells by inhibiting the viral transcriptional activator, called Tat, halting viral production, reactivation and replenishment of the latent viral reservoir.
“Combining dCA with anti-retroviral therapy accelerates HIV-1 suppression and prevents viral rebound after treatment interruption, even during strong cellular activation,” Valente said. “It’s important to note that our study uses the maximum tolerable dose of the drug—with virtually no side effects.”
The scientists studied the combination therapy in a mouse model of HIV latency and persistence. Once the combined treatment regimen was halted, viral rebound was delayed up to 19 days, compared with just seven days in mouse models receiving only anti-retroviral treatment.
“This demonstrates the potential of ‘block-and-lock’ strategies,” said TSRI Research Associate Cari F. Kessing, co-first author of the study. “This study shows that a ‘functional cure’ approach can succeed in reducing residual virus in the blood during anti-retroviral treatment and limiting viral rebound during treatment interruption.”
“In half of the dCA treated mice, the virus was undetectable for 16 days after all treatment was halted,” said the University of North Carolina’s Christopher Nixon, another first author.
“We blocked Tat, and the cell’s machinery did the rest,” said TSRI Research Associate Chuan Li, a coauthor of the study. “The result was that the HIV promoter becomes repressed.”
Valente pointed out that the animal models were exposed to just a single month of treatment. “That’s a relatively short period of time,” she said. “We think longer treatments will result in longer, or even permanent, rebound delays. The question is how long? We’re studying that now.”
Because any viral rebound of HIV comes with a host of adverse effects, Valente noted, blocking that rebound would automatically reduce those effects.
“This is the only class of drugs that stops infected cells from making viruses outright,” said Valente. “All current antivirals work later in the viral lifecycle, so only a HIV transcriptional inhibitor like dCA can stop the side effects of low-level virus production.”
The Latest on: HIV
- Early Intervention In Scott Co. HIV Outbreak Could Have Drastically Reduced Infections on September 18, 2018 at 2:13 pm
The HIV outbreak that exploded in Scott County in 2015 could have been prevented, according to a new study from the Yale School of Public Health. Researchers hope it illustrates a valuable lesson for ... […]
- "Vampire Facial" Clients Should Seek HIV Testing, Health Officials Warn on September 18, 2018 at 1:47 pm
Clients from a spa in New Mexico that touts a “vampire facial” are being urged to seek HIV testing. The state’s health department discovered some negligent practices at the VIP Spa (located at 809 Tij... […]
- Global POC HIV Testing Market 2018-2022 on September 18, 2018 at 1:04 pm
POC HIV testing is used to screen HIV antibodies. They can be performed in hospitals, clinics, and home care settings, and the results of these tests are available within a few minutes. Read the ... […]
- Bronzeville Resident Advocates for HIV/AIDS Awareness on September 18, 2018 at 11:39 am
Bronzeville resident Lauryn Scott has heard some outrageous beliefs about how a person contracts HIV/AIDS. Her aim as an awareness advocate with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago is to dispel as many ... […]
- What Do HIV Mouth Sores Look Like? on September 18, 2018 at 11:34 am
Mouth sores are a common symptom of HIV. In fact, between 32 and 46 percent of people with HIV develop mouth complications due to a weakened immune system. These mouth sores can interfere with a perso... […]
- Don’t let HIV ravage a generation poised to transform Africa on September 18, 2018 at 8:12 am
started my medical training in San Francisco in 1982. Like many of my colleagues at that time, I found myself at the center of a terrifying public health crisis, in which a then-unknown virus was kill... […]
- Kyle Krieger’s Drinking Problems, Current State of STDs, New HIV Treatments, LGBT Dementia, Fellatio Wounds: Gay Men’s Health News Round-Up on September 18, 2018 at 7:30 am
LET’S TALK ABOUT PREP. Big Dipper joins KC Ortiz in a new bop from the Howard Brown Health. The project was funded by a grant from the Illinois Community Health Foundation. SLIDING BACKWARD. U.S. saw ... […]
- LIWEN Steps up Fight Against HIV on September 17, 2018 at 7:18 pm
The Liberian Women Empowerment Network (LIWEN) in collaboration with Action Aid Liberia, along with support from Swedish International Development Agency (Sida), over the weekend distributed condoms t... […]
- Glaxo Seeks EU Approval for Two-Drug Regimen in First-Line HIV on September 17, 2018 at 4:13 pm
GlaxoSmithKline GSK announced that its HIV-focused company, ViiV Healthcare submitted a marketing authorization application (MAA) to the European Medicines Agency (EMA) for a single-tablet, two ... […]
- GSK's 2-Drug Combo For HIV Could Threaten Gilead on September 17, 2018 at 1:00 pm
GSK's long-acting injection given once a month has proven it can control the AIDS virus as effectively as standard daily pills. It could show strong efficacy and be less invasive versus competing ... […]
via Google News and Bing News