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!
Study suggests new way of preventing diabetes-associated blindness
26.05.2015 | Johns Hopkins Medicine
Memories Influence Choice of Food
22.05.2015 | Universität Basel
The only professorship in Germany to date, one master's programme, one laboratory with worldwide unique equipment and the corresponding research results: The University of Würzburg is leading in the field of biofabrication.
Paul Dalton is presently the only professor of biofabrication in Germany. About a year ago, the Australian researcher relocated to the Würzburg department for...
Physicists have developed an innovative method that could enable the efficient use of nanocomponents in electronic circuits. To achieve this, they have developed a layout in which a nanocomponent is connected to two electrical conductors, which uncouple the electrical signal in a highly efficient manner. The scientists at the Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel have published their results in the scientific journal “Nature Communications” together with their colleagues from ETH Zurich.
Electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. Components measuring just a few nanometers – the size of around ten atoms – are already being produced...
Development and implementation of an advanced automobile parking navigation platform for parking services
To fulfill the requirements of the industry, PolyU researchers developed the Advanced Automobile Parking Navigation Platform, which includes smart devices,...
The world's first electrical car and passenger ferry powered by batteries has entered service in Norway. The ferry only uses 150 kWh per route, which...
On Tuesday, 19 May 2015 the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its home port in Bremerhaven, setting a course for the Arctic. Led by Dr Ilka Peeken from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) a team of 53 researchers from 11 countries will investigate the effects of climate change in the Arctic, from the surface ice floes down to the seafloor.
RV Polarstern will enter the sea-ice zone north of Spitsbergen. Covering two shallow regions on their way to deeper waters, the scientists on board will focus...
20.05.2015 | Event News
18.05.2015 | Event News
12.05.2015 | Event News
27.05.2015 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.05.2015 | Health and Medicine
27.05.2015 | Physics and Astronomy