Towards HIV Curative Strategies - The Next Step Starts Now
Submitted by: Star One Public Relations
Toulon, France (OPENPRESS) June 24, 2011 -- Although there have been major antiretroviral therapy improvements in the last 15 years, there is still no cure for HIV. Dr. Alain Lafeuillade, chair of the "International Symposium on HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases" just published an article in HIV Clinical Trials to sump-up recent advances towards a cure and define the agenda: "Potential Strategies for an HIV Infection Cure". HIV Clinical Trials 2011; 12 (3):121-30. DOI10.1310/hct1203-121.
Lafeuillade stated that research must continue to look towards HIV curative strategies by eliminating the virus from the body completely. He explained that there are limits that may never be overcome with antiretroviral therapy. There are two possible ways generally thought of now towards a cure: these methods are activation of latent HIV, and gene therapy.
The first method removes latent HIV infected cells. Latent HIV means that the HIV is not actively replicating. Current antiretroviral drugs work by blocking replication, so they do not work on latent HIV. Thus, the latent HIV will reactivate if therapy is stopped, and the HIV infection is renewed. The result is that antiretrovirals can never completely remove HIV from the body. Dr. Lafeuillade says that there are gaps in the understanding, including exactly how HIV latency works, and the consequences of activating HIV.
The second method towards HIV curative strategies is gene therapy. Gene therapy is in the early stages of clinical testing. In these tests, the genetic information in a cell is modified so that it becomes resistant to HIV infection. Cells are taken from a patient, genetically modified, and injected back into the patient. Other avenues for treatment include gene therapy to block immune cells from infection, turning off HIV genes, and heightening the immune systems response. These new methods will be presented on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at ISHEID. 'Searching for a Cure' will be the main topic of this day at the International Symposium of HIV & Emerging Infectious Diseases.
HIV infection is still a global threat. It has major challenges ahead. Addressing socioeconomic aspects are vital. Access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care are in danger. ISHEID strives to promote current scientific advances, and strengthen the global pledge to continue to fight aids and seek cures. Through ISHEID, key opinion leaders meet. Participants include clinicians, specialists, professors, biologists, researchers, and practitioners. Sessions, presentations, symposia, workshops, and plenary lectures are scheduled. This ensures that a platform to present new scientific advances towards HIV curative strategies is being utilized. Dialogue on major issues concerning HIV/AIDS occurs, and infectious diseases need the same global approach. The ISHEID congress makes this possible.