HIV Eradication Trials PDF Print E-mail
Written by Alain Lafeuillade   
Monday, 20 December 2010 06:14

HIV Eradication Trials: where are we going?

An interview of David Margolis, University of North Carolina, Chapell Hill, USA

At a time when hope for HIV eradication is again in the news, following the publication of the 'Berlin patient', we have asked to a renowned specialist what the perspectives really are.

 

Q1: Some scientists doubt an HIV cure will ever be achieved. Are you still an optimist and why?

DM: I never know how to answer such questions, just as I do not know what to say when people ask when we will accomplish this feat.  The goal of eradicating virus in a person, or allowing the safe interruption of ART (so-called “functional cure”) seems difficult but possible.  I am optimistic that if we pursue this goal we will learn important and useful things, and improve the lives of people with HIV infection.


Q2: What have we learned in terms of HIV persistence since you first tried to purge the HIV reservoir with valproic acid 5 years ago?

DM: We have learned a great deal about the many molecular mechanisms that restrict HIV expression and allow for persistence of virus, and about the persistent expression of virus in patients on stable ART.  But we have not yet learned to translate this understanding into more effective approaches to purge latent HIV.  That is the next challenge.


Q3: What are, in your view, the more promising drugs to be tested in the near future for this ‘purge’ approach? What are your short-term projects?

DM: We hope to test SAHA of vorinostat soon, a potent HDAC inhibitor.


Q4: Do you think that a chemical compound could be enough to reach an HIV cure or remission, or that an immunologic complement –as a vaccine- or another approach – like stem cell gene therapy- will be needed in addition to control the very last few cells with latent HIV?

DM: I think that a chemical approach alone might succeed, but that a combined approach that also has an immunological component might improve the chances of success.


Q5: Are drug companies actively looking for compounds able to cure HIV? Are governments and foundations actively involved in this area of research?

DM:  Yes, but it could be argued that this area is not sufficiently funded.


You can comment below

Key words: HDAC, hiv cure, hiv eradication, hiv eradication trials, vorinostat
Last Updated on Monday, 20 December 2010 06:40
 

Gravatar
Dora 20.12.2010 (11:25:56)  
HDACIs Yes No  

Dr. Lafeuillade,
thank you for this interesting interview.
I’ve read in an Italian forum that Dr. Andrea Savarino is no more studying the HDACIs. If this is true, I’d like to know if he discontinued his research due to distrust in this purging aproach.
Wishing best to this site,
Dora

 
   
       
Gravatar
AL 21.12.2010 (18:46:39)  
Thanks Yes No  

Dear Dora,
Thanks for encouraging me.
I have passed the question to Dr Savarino who should answer to you there.
Kindest regards
al

 
   
       
Gravatar
Andrea 22.12.2010 (21:11:30)  
My reply Yes No  

Dear Dora,
I'm sorry I've been very busy in the last two days. I'll post my reply to your question tomorrow.
Regards,
Andrea Savarino

 
   
       
Gravatar
AL 23.12.2010 (07:24:43)  
More to come Yes No  

I have proposed to Dr Savarino to take part to an interview addressing specifically this topic. This would allow him to have more space to answer. We hope to be able to post it within a few days.
Have a great holidays season!
al

 
   
       
Gravatar
Dora 23.12.2010 (15:16:00)  
Thanks Yes No  

Great!
My best wishes to you all,
Dora

 
   
       

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