Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Using hair to manage HIV/AIDS and predict treatment success

05.03.2009
UCSF researchers have found that examining levels of antiretroviral drugs in hair samples taken from HIV patients on therapy strongly predicts treatment success.

The findings, published in the February 20 issue of AIDS, note that the levels of antiretrovirals found in the hair of patients on treatment correlated strongly with levels of HIV virus circulating in patients' blood.

"High levels of antiretrovirals in hair correlated with success in HIV viral suppression in treatment and did so better than any of the other variables usually considered to predict response," said the study's primary investigator, Monica Gandhi, MD MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF's Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital.

Typically, clinicians rely on either self-report by patients, pill counts or expensive medication dispensing devices to monitor how well patients are taking their pills as directed. These methods are highly patient dependent and have not been good predictors of treatment success.

Clinicians can draw blood and then measure plasma levels of medications, but since a single plasma level represents medication exposure only hours prior to the blood draw, this method has also not been a good predictor of viral suppression, according to Gandhi. Single drug levels can vary day-by-day for a single patient and may reflect improved pill-taking by patients just before clinic visits, she said.

Hair, which grows at a rate of about a centimeter a month, gives a reading of drug levels that reflects the rate of pill consumption sustained by patients over weeks, not days. Assessing an average level of drug exposure over time may be more predictive of treatment response than the "snapshot" of exposure provided by a single plasma level of medication, Gandhi said.

"Hair sampling for antiretroviral levels could become a new standard to look at how much drug a patient is getting—an equivalent in HIV clinical care of measuring hemoglobin A1C, the method used in diabetes to monitor average blood glucose levels," said study co-investigator, Ruth M. Greenblatt, MD, UCSF professor of clinical pharmacy and principal investigator of the Women's Interagency HIV study.

Researchers took 10 strands of hair from patients on HIV therapy from the back of the head. They cut the hair sample close to the scalp underneath the top layer of hair, marked the part farthest from the scalp with tape and wrapped the strands in aluminum foil. The sample was then stored at room temperature in a plastic bag until it was analyzed.

"This is a painless, bloodless, biohazard-free, method of collecting a stable specimen from HIV patients that may allow for the monitoring of levels of antiretroviral drugs absorbed over time and the prediction of treatment success," said Gandhi. "Our next step is to test this method in resource-limited settings where blood collection and viral load monitoring may be expensive and difficult. Not only could this method help in measuring pill-taking, but its strong correlation with viral suppression could allow its use as an inexpensive, non-invasive method of monitoring treatment success in particularly challenging settings."

Researchers from this group are also collaborating with public health researchers in testing hair to monitor pill-taking in clinical trials of single or dual antiretrovirals in high risk, HIV negative individuals to prevent infection with HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, trials).

The 224 patients in this study were drawn from the Women's Interagency HIV study, an ongoing multi-center, prospective study of HIV-infected and at risk uninfected women established in 1994.

"Women taking antiretroviral medications may have more adverse events than men taking these regimens. The safety trials of these medications were conducted in trials consisting largely of men, and the highest tolerable amount of drug in order to successfully suppress HIV is usually recommended. One foreseeable use of this technique may be to fine-tune the amount of drug prescribed. We could measure drug levels in hair, find the level correlating with viral suppression, and then reduce the amount of drug prescribed if it was at a point exceeding the level needed for viral control, hopefully reducing toxicities," said Gandhi.

Jeff Sheehy | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsf.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

nachricht New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM

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: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

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...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

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...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

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...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

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...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Fighting drug resistant tuberculosis – InfectoGnostics meets MYCO-NET² partners in Peru

28.04.2017 | Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Wireless power can drive tiny electronic devices in the GI tract

28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering

Ice cave in Transylvania yields window into region's past

28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

28.04.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>