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.
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.
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.
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Life Sciences
27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences