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This blog is moderated: after posting your text goes to the administrator for approval

Posted on Wednesday, 24 April 2013 in General

Due to frequent use by people outside the community to promote or sell goods, this blog is now moderated. Once you have posted your text, it goes to the administrator for approval.

All posts having nothing to do with the purpose of this website will be discarted.

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New anti-HIV Gene Therapy Trials Launched – Testing Moves Forward

Posted on Thursday, 19 January 2012 in Clinical Aspects

New anti-HIV gene therapy trials launched is the recent news regarding a promising potential treatment for HIV. This new round of trials is the Phase 2 clinical round after this treatment passed Phase 1. Two new phase 2 clinical studies are now being launched, according to the maker of the treatment, Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. These new trials are entitled SB-728-1101 and SB-728-902, Cohort 5. The plan is for this treatment to pan out as a functional cure for HIV/AIDS. The research process is ongoing.

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Designing New Approaches to Cure HIV Infection

Posted on Saturday, 31 December 2011 in Clinical Aspects

Several new approaches are ready to be tested to try to reach an HIV cure, at least a functional one where life-long ART is no longer necessary.

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Anti-HIV Therapy is Suboptimal in Lymphoid Tissues

Posted on Wednesday, 14 December 2011 in Clinical Aspects

Professor Mario Stevenson (Miami, USA) has some interesting news to bring to the HIV research community at large. In a recent interview conducted at the 5th International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies, Stevenson claimed that all anti-retroviral therapies are not effective against HIV hiding in lymphoid tissues. HIV replicates the most in lymphatic tissue and resides in these same tissues to create HIV reservoirs, and in a 3-year long collaborative project, Stevenson came to this conclusion.


Here's how the study worked:  A group of HIV-positive patients on antiretroviral therapy were recruited, and lymphoid tissue from the gut and lymph nodes was taken from each person. The question is:  Does the HIV respond to antiretroviral therapy (ART) in lymphoid tissue the same way that it does in the blood?  While one or two antiretroviral medications indeed reach the tissue in the same concentrations that it does in the blood, others were shown to be relatively ineffective.  Therefore, Stevenson claims, "In tissue, it's not combination therapy.  It's mono-therapy or dual therapy."  So, how is the virus responding to ART within tissue?


For those who are on ART, the viral level in the blood is drastically reduced, and becomes undetectable within a month.  However, in some patients, there are actually higher levels of virus hiding in the lymphoid tissues—evidence that construction of HIV reservoirs has occurred.  Therefore, the response is different in the tissues than it is in the blood. "What this suggests is that the tissues provide a sanctuary—a pharmacologic sanctuary—that allows the virus to exploit those suboptimal concentrations to infect cells," Stevenson says. ART isn't shutting down virus infection completely—episodic infections are still occurring, and Stevenson claims that the reservoir can be replenished by the new infections made by the suboptimal concentrations.


Why is there such a discrepancy? There are possibilities. For example, in HIV-suppressed patients, the viral replications are continuing, but they're happening in very slow, small quantities, and at a low level. Or, there is a chronic virus source somewhere in the body—even while the virus is suppressed. These sources are infecting new cells; however, the newly-infected cells aren't then progressing to infect cells themselves. The goal is to identify where these sources are, and whether or not these tissue reservoirs are developing resistance to ART. Based on these findings, there is still a ways to go to achieve a cure for HIV.

Researchers are working hard toward HIV eradication, but there is more work to be done.

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Cell-to-cell Spread of HIV Keeps Viral Reservoir Going Despite ART

Posted on Friday, 19 August 2011 in Fundamental Science

Researchers at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) believe they have begun to decode how a reservoir of infection can persist in HIV-positive populations.

Their work is published ahead of print in the August 17, 2011 online issue of Nature:

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature10347.html

The research team proposes that a type of HIV infection that uses infected cells to get close to uninfected cells and then discharge a large load of virus on them, may be the reason small populations of HIV-infected cells persist on effective ART.

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The “Berlin Patient” as a Proof of Concept for an HIV Cure

Posted on Saturday, 06 August 2011 in Clinical Aspects

Last December, Doctors from Germany published the first documented case of a HIV infection cure. Although it occurred in a very special situation -and will not be reproducible at a large scale- it is the first breakthrough toward an HIV cure. We have got an interview of this patient and we discuss the global implications of this unique case.

The “Berlin Patient” as a Proof of Concept for an HIV Cure

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HIV Reservoirs Research Will Help Finding a Cure

Posted on Tuesday, 02 August 2011 in Fundamental Science

The quest toward finding a cure for HIV continues in earnest, and the scientific and medical communities alike are beginning to seriously whisper amongst themselves that a cure is just around the corner

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Tracking HIV in its Final Refuge

Posted on Friday, 29 July 2011 in Fundamental Science

Researchers are whittling down the places for HIV to hide, and the general consensus is that it's just a matter of time before a cure is found.  HIV is in its final refuge.

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Fresh Air for HIV Cure Research

Posted on Saturday, 23 July 2011 in Clinical Aspects

Fresh money recently poured in HIV Cure Research.

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Potential Strategies for an HIV Infection Cure

Posted on Tuesday, 21 June 2011 in Fundamental Science

Lafeuillade A. Potential Strategies for an HIV Infection Cure. HIV Clinical Trials 2011; 12 (3):121-30

http://thomasland.metapress.com/content/a01734v2v1232247/?p=84991f2f8c7149fcb20ee073f69bd48c&pi=0

Abstract: Despite long-term viral suppression with antiretroviral therapy (ART), HIV persists in reservoirs and sanctuary sites. Lifelong therapy is therefore necessary, leading to problems of compliance, toxicity, and cost. Over the last few years, important advances have been made in our understanding of the composition and the maintenance mechanisms of the HIV reservoir. Although complete viral eradication is currently out of reach, a growing number of scientists think that a "functional" cure is achievable. This situation would combine no disease progression, no virus transmission, and a life expectancy close to uninfected individuals in the absence of ART. At acute HIV infection, ART increases the frequency of sustained viremia control after its discontinuation, compared with the natural history of untreated disease. For patients at the chronic stage of HIV infection, ART alone is insufficient to clear viral reservoirs and new molecules intended to purge this reservoir or gene therapy approaches are warranted. This search for a cure needs innovation, audaciousness, and coordination. It also needs political, institutional, and private commitments for funding, which by now are severely lacking.

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Is the Recent Pledge by Governments to Eradicate HIV AIDS Really Enough?

Posted on Wednesday, 15 June 2011 in General

Recently, a group of government leaders met at a special United Nations summit that had the sole purpose of charting out the global response to AIDS over the next decade.  They made a pledge to eradicate HIV AIDS over the next ten years.  Technically, the pledge was to reach triple zero over the next decade.  The idea is to have zero new infections, zero AIDS related deaths, and to reduce the stigma associated with the disease to zero, all in the next ten years.  While it is an admirable pledge and goal, is making the pledge really enough?  It depends on who you ask.

Certain AIDS activists feel the document does not go far enough, noting that while most every one of the 3,000 heads of state, other political leaders, activists, and civil citizens attending the meeting were on board, no one brought a check book.  Paul De Lay, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS acknowledged that reaching the goals laid out in the pledge was going to take money.  He stated that United Nations member states pledged to close the financial gap by increasing funding for AIDS by 2015 to between $22 and $24 billion.  However, no country made a specific financial commitment.

Some of the specific target areas of the pledge include more than doubling the amount of people receiving treatment in low- and middle- income countries, cutting the sexual transmission of HIV in half, ensuring no babies are born infected with the virus, and reducing the number of those infected through drug use, all by 2015.  While activists are pleased yet skeptical, UNAID's De Lay says he is pleased with the final declaration.  And it appears that no one is really unhappy with it since the 16-page document is, after all, a good thing.  But there are definitely those who feel that more could have been done.

Those are the ones who maintain that if the pledge is going to be met, then someone has to start showing the money at the upcoming G20 summit in November.   Some feel there were issues getting everything together due to certain conservatives fighting over wording, wanting to leave out references to sex education and homosexuals.  However, in the end, everyone does agree on one thing.  What the document accomplishes is a good thing, and everyone hopes the goals it sets forth are accomplished and more within the next decade. If this is the case, it will have served its purpose.

 

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Hope for a Cure Against HIV

Posted on Friday, 27 May 2011 in General

Alain Lafeuillade (France) and Mario Stevenson (USA) co-authored a paper on HIV reservoirs that claims these reservoirs are the main hurdle to achieving HIV eradication.  While antiretroviral therapy treatments have been successful in lengthening the life expectancy for HIV-infected individuals, a cure for HIV has not been found.  The cure is not within reach primarily because of HIV reservoirs.  While effective, antiretroviral therapy (ART) doesn't completely wipe out the HIV infection.  Persistent infection is the result of small pools of virulent material known as HIV reservoirs, and these reservoirs are preventing the progress toward an HIV cure.
HIV persistence remains, even with antiretroviral (ART) treatment.  Two critical questions arise when it comes to reservoirs.  The first question is figuring out how to determine the nature of non-lymphocytic HIV reservoirs; the second question is finding a possible "threshold" where the HIV reservoir is kept low enough for the body to effectively control it.  However, encouraging results were made in 2010 when the first person to ever be cured of HIV infection via a stem cell transplant.  While this is apparently an isolated incident, it does show that HIV is curable.  This development brought widespread optimism in the scientific community.
Therefore, the goal is to improve ART treatments to deal with latent HIV reservoirs, "purging" them in a way.  Research indicates that a cocktail of drugs are needed to deal with compartment of the reservoir, sterilizing the virus and making it unable to replicate.  These are the usual approaches to dealing with HIV—neutralizing the virus by taking away its ability to copy itself.   Gene therapy combined with stem cell research into zinc finger nucleases designed to disrupt CCR5 expression have also been useful research topics.  In fact, the stem cells implanted in the HIV-cured patient came from an individual with a rare CCR5 mutation.
HIV persistence via reservoirs is a top priority for researchers and health professionals throughout the globe.  This paper provides information on the mechanisms of HIV persistence and a discussion on the critical questions facing researchers in the field.  It also briefly discusses the need for better ART treatments and ends with a paragraph talking about the development of a task force dedicated to dealing with this subject.  While the improvements in technology and medicine have made things better for HIV patients and improved the quality of their lives, HIV persistence via reservoirs has prevented an outright cure from being developed.  The hope, as stated by the paper, is to turn the isolated HIV cure incident into a regular occurrence.
About the publication: The Search for a Cure for Persistent HIV Reservoirs. AIDS Rev. 2011; 13: 63-6

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HIV Reservoirs Meeting Program Unveiled – An Exciting Line-Up

Posted on Thursday, 14 April 2011 in Meetings

In the hunt for a cure for HIV, it can definitely help to gather together with other experts on the subject. It's of utmost importance for researchers to collaborate and share information with one another, and that is the purpose of the ‘HIV Persistence During Therapy International Workshop’. This gathering of top researchers in the field of HIV reservoirs is bound to be a fruitful time, and now we find this HIV reservoirs meeting program unveiled, as the schedule is now set and available for viewing. The first day will begin with an evening Welcoming Reception, but things get pretty focused after that.

On Day 2 of the HIV reservoirs meeting program, there will be three sessions: "Models of HIV Persistence," "Basic Science of HIV Persistence," and "Virological Aspects of HIV Persistence." Subjects include "Viral Reservoirs & Reactivation/Eradication Strategies in SHIV-Infected Macaques," "In-Vitro Cellular Models of HIV Persistence," "Barriers to HIV Eradication," "New Mechanisms of HIV Transcriptional Latency," "Non-T-Cell HIV Reservoirs," "Monitoring HIV Reservoirs," and selected abstracts. The featured speakers come from all over the world, including the United States, Italy, France, Sweden, and Spain. There will be poster viewing sessions after each session, with breaks for lunch and dinner.

Day 3 of the HIV reservoirs meeting program contains a packed schedule with five sessions: "Innate Immunity and HIV Persistence," "Immune Control of HIV Reservoirs," "Research Presentations from Firms Supporting the Meeting," "Acute HIV Infection," and "Anatomic Reservoirs." Subjects include "How HIV Avoids Innate Immunity," "Innate Immunity & the Establishment of HIV Reservoirs," "The Role of Chemokines in the Establishment of HIV Latency," "The Impact of HIV-Associated Inflammation on HIV Persistence," "New Strategies at Acute HIV Infection," "Mega-HAART at Acute HIV Infection," "Gut HIV Reservoirs," and "HIV in Lymphoid Tissue." There will be poster viewing sessions and breaks for lunch and dinner.

On Day 4 of the HIV reservoirs meeting program, there's a bit of a lighter load: only two sessions, both on "New Approaches & Eradication Trials." Subjects include "Strategies Targeting HIV Reservoirs," "Perspectives on Therapeutic Intervention and Eradication in HIV Infection," "Anti-Latency Drugs Development," "The Anti-Latency Activity of Vorinostat In Vivo: Preliminary Findings," "CCR5 Knock-Out in Hematopoietic Stem Cells," "Interim Analysis of a Trial Testing Targeted Gene Disruption of CCR5," "CXCR4 Knock-Out," and "Excision of HIV Proviral DNA Using Tre-Recombinase." There will be poster viewing sessions, and the day will close with workshop conclusions.

...
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Alain Lafeuillade
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Double-edged HIV-specific CD4+ T Cells?

Posted on Wednesday, 26 January 2011 in Fundamental Science

Recent findings suggest that HIV persistence in 'Elite Controllers' is driven by the strong specific CD4+ T cell response that allows these patients to remain stable.

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HAART at Acute HIV Infection

Posted on Tuesday, 25 January 2011 in Clinical Aspects

Do not miss this interview

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Dr Anthony Fauci Interview

Posted on Wednesday, 29 December 2010 in Fundamental Science

Do not miss this article.

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Posted on Friday, 15 October 2010 in General

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