Advertisement
Advertisement


News

The CHAMP Study: Clues to Natural Control of HIV Infection

October 2, 2018

Steven Deeks, M.D.

Steven Deeks, M.D. (Courtesy of amfAR)

In the search for an HIV cure -- complete eradication of virus in the absence of ongoing antiretroviral therapy (ART) -- one interim strategy involves identification of treatments that can induce sustained suppression of the virus, even if it remains present at very low levels.

The feasibility of such an approach is greatly strengthened by the existence of a small number of individuals known as post-treatment controllers, who maintain control of HIV growth after discontinuing ART. Writing in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, amfAR-funded scientist Dr. Steven Deeks from the University of California, San Francisco, with colleagues from eight AIDS Clinical Trials Groups (ACTG), identified such individuals and provided insights into their viral control.

In the CHAMP (Control of HIV after Antiretroviral Medication Pause) study, Deeks and colleagues sought to define the frequency of these post-treatment controllers. Reviewing participants in 14 ACTG studies enrolling over 700 individuals, they identified 67 people, of whom 38 were treated during early HIV infection and 25 during its chronic phase. These individuals maintained viral loads less than or equal to 400 copies at least two-thirds of the time after stopping ART, for a minimum of six months of follow-up.

Advertisement

Post-treatment controllers were over three times more prevalent among those who had started ART early in the course of their infection. But most impressive was the durability of HIV control. After one year, 75% still controlled their virus off ART. After five years, 22% still did. Deeks and colleagues also found that the level of virus at which participants in ART interruption trials restarted ART had a dramatic effect on the frequency of post-treatment controllers. Restarting ART at a threshold of 1000 viral copies would have failed to identify about half of those individuals.

The investigators also noted an unusual pattern: one of the 14 ACTG studies reported a surprisingly high number of post-treatment controllers. That study included cycles of ART treatment interruption, suggesting that the concept of "autovaccination," by which bursts of virus following ART interruption stimulate effective immune responses, should be explored further in HIV cure research.

The authors concluded that "The presence of individuals who can maintain HIV suppression after discontinuing ART provides hope that the goal of sustained HIV remission is possible."

Dr. Laurence is amfAR's senior scientific consultant.

[Note from TheBodyPRO: This article was originally published by amfAR on Sept. 14, 2018. We have cross-posted it with their permission.]


Related Stories

Approaches to an HIV Cure
Elite Controllers: Sex Differences and Factors Associated With Loss of Immune Control
No Proof of New HIV Cure, Despite Headlines -- Here's What We Know
The Only Cases of HIV Cure or Remission
Beyond the Berlin Patient: How Researchers Are Now Trying to Cure More HIV-Positive People (Video)
What Would an HIV Cure Mean for You?



This article was provided by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Visit amfAR's website to find out more about their activities and publications.
 

Advertisement

The content on this page is free of advertiser influence and was produced by our editorial team. See our content and advertising policies.