New research suggests that drugs commonly used to prevent organ rejection after transplantation may also be helpful for combating HIV. The findings, which are published in the American Journal of Transplantation, suggest a new strategy in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
Despite the effectiveness of antiviral therapies at suppressing HIV, the virus still persists indefinitely at low levels in infected patients who are diligent about taking their medications.
"Current therapies fail to cure the disease as they do not attack those viruses that remain hidden within the immune system," said Steven Deeks, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco. Researchers suspect that inflammation in the body in response to HIV infection may create an environment that supports this viral persistence.
Dr. Deeks and his colleagues wondered whether immunosuppressant therapy could reduce such inflammation and therefore help defeat HIV. To investigate, the team looked at how HIV infection is affected by immunosuppressants that are commonly taken by kidney transplant recipients to reduce their risk of rejection. The analysis included 91 recipients who were followed for a median of 3.2 years post-transplant.
When the investigators analyzed blood samples from the study participants, they found that HIV remained well-controlled following transplantation and long-term exposure to immunosuppressive drugs. Importantly, they also discovered that patients who took a particular immunosuppressant called sirolimus as part of their treatment regimen had fewer cells in their blood that were infected with HIV over time.
The findings suggest that immune-modifying drugs such as sirolimus may affect the level of HIV persistence. "Based on the observations in this study, the NIH is now sponsoring a targeted study to see if sirolimus might indeed contribute to a cure of HIV infection," said Dr. Deeks.
Dr. Deeks, who is an HIV researcher and clinician, noted that the work was done in collaboration with UCSF transplant surgeons led by Peter Stock, MD, PhD, and study coordinator Rodney Rogers. "Our study highlights the potential synergies that can occur when two very different disciplines merge their talents and resources," said Dr. Deeks. "We feel that the transplant community has much to teach the HIV community about the potential role of strong immune-suppressing drugs in curing HIV disease."
The results come only several months after the federal government passed legislation—called the HIV Organ Transplant Equity (HOPE) Act—to end the federal ban on the transplantation of HIV-positive organs to patients with HIV.
Evelyn Martinez | EurekAlert!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.
The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...
Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...
Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!
When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
19.09.2017 | Event News
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
21.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.09.2017 | Life Sciences
21.09.2017 | Health and Medicine