Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

A new weapon in the war against HIV-AIDS: Combined antiviral and targeted chemotherapy

23.06.2009
A discovery by a team of Canadian and American researchers could provide new ways to fight HIV-AIDS. According to a new study published in Nature Medicine, HIV-AIDS could be treated through a combination of targeted chemotherapy and current Highly Active Retroviral (HAART) treatments. This radical new therapy would make it possible to destroy both the viruses circulating in the body as well as those playing hide-and-seek in immune system cells.

The study was led by Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, of the Université de Montréal. Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and scientists from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the University of Minnesota in the United States also collaborated on the investigation.

To date, anti-AIDS treatments have been stymied by "HIV reservoirs" – immune system cells where the virus hides and where existing HAART treatments cannot reach. The researchers successfully identified the cells where HIV hides and the "stealth" mechanisms that allow the virus to escape existing treatments. This breakthrough opens the way towards innovative therapies that are completely different from current approaches.

"Our results argue in favour of a strategy similar to the one used against leukemia, which is targeted chemotherapy, associated with a targeted immune treatment. This would make it possible to destroy the cells containing a virus, while giving the immune system time to regenerate with healthy cells," says Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, a professor at the Université de Montréal, researcher at the Centre Hospitalier de Université de Montréal (CHUM), director of INSERM 743 and scientific director of the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute of Florida.

"For the first time, this study proves that the HIV reservoirs are not due to a lack of potency of the antiretroviral drugs, but to the virus hiding inside two different types of long life CD4 memory immune cells," explains Dr. Jean-Pierre Routy, a hematologist with the MUHC, researcher in infection and immunity at the RI-MUHC and professor of hematology at McGill University. "There are several types of HIV reservoirs, each necessitating a different treatment to eliminate them."

Indeed, once the virus is hidden in these reservoir cells, it becomes dependent on them: if the cell lives, the virus lives, but if the cell dies, so does the virus. As such, destroying these immune cells will allow for the elimination of the resilient or hidden parts of the virus. Existing HAART treatments destroy the viruses circulating in the body, yet cannot reach those hidden in reservoir cells.

"We now have brand-new options to fight HIV," concludes Nicolas Chomont, a postdoctoral intern at the Université de Montréal's Department of Microbiology and Immunology and one of the co-authors of this study. "The combination of fundamental and clinical approaches led to amazing results that allow us to elucidate another mystery of this virus of a thousand faces."

These new therapeutic options will require many more years of research before they are validated and become a reality for patients. However, this study represents an invaluable work plan that will provide a map for many laboratories around the world.

Funding

This study was funded by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR), the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the FRSQ-AIDS and Infectious Diseases Network.

Partners

The study, "HIV reservoir size and persistence are driven by T cell survival and homeostatic proliferation," published in Nature Medicine, was coauthored by Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Elias K. Haddad, Nicolas Chomont, Mohamed El Far, Petronela Ancuta, Lydie Trautmann, Francesco A. Procopio, Bader Yassine-Diab and Geneviève Boucher of the Université de Montréal and Centre Hospitalier de Université de Montréal (CHUM), Jean-Pierre Routy, Mohamed-Rachid Boulassel and Georges Ghattas of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and McGill University, Brenna J. Hill, Daniel C. Douek and Jason M. Brenchley of the National Institutes of Health, U.S.A., and Timothy W. Schacker of the University of Minnesota, U.S.A.

Isabelle Kling | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.muhc.mcgill.ca
http://www.mcgill.ca

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>