June 22, 2009
Researchers from Oregon State University's Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute (VGTI) Florida and the University of Montreal say they have discovered a potential way to eradicate HIV by suppressing viral replication and stopping the division of certain T-cells in the body, according to a study published on Sunday online in the journal Nature Medicine, the Treasure Coast reports (Copsey, Treasure Coast, 6/21). Lead researcher Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, scientific director for VGTI Florida and a professor at the University of Montreal, and colleagues say that a new therapy that combines traditional antiretroviral treatment with what they call "intelligent targeted chemotherapy," might completely destroy "HIV reservoirs," where the virus hides inside immune system cells and cannot be reached by existing treatments.
Co-author Jean-Pierre Routy, associate professor of hematology at McGill University in Montreal, said that if a patient responds to traditional antiretroviral therapy, then they could be a good candidate for the new treatment, which could kill the remaining cells that keep the virus alive in the body. He said "the patient will remain virus-free for a long time or forever." A study will begin in September to test the validity of the findings (Minsky, Canwest/Calgary Herald, 6/21).