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!
Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology
Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH
The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.
To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine
30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering