Strategies for a Cure
Dr. Sharon Lewin (Australia) of the Alfred Hospital, Monash University and Burnet Institute outlined the multiple barriers to curing HIV, and examined potential avenues for achieving either a functional cure (long-term control of HIV in the absence of combination antiretroviral therapy) or a sterilizing cure (elimination of all HIV-infected cells). The major challenges include residual viral replication in patients receiving combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) and HIV's ability to sequester itself in anatomical reservoirs. The most significant barrier, however, is the establishment of a latent or "silent" infection in resting CD4+ T-cells. According to Lewin, recent advances in understanding which cells are latently infected and how latency is established and maintained may one day lead to interventions that could potentially reverse latent infection.
Studies of patients who can naturally control HIV have demonstrated that a functional cure may be possible with the most consistent finding among these patients being a potent immune response to HIV. One potential approach to achieving a sterilizing cure includes the very early initiation of cART in combination with agents that can reverse latent infection. Drugs such as histone deacetylase inhibitors, currently used and licensed for the treatment of some cancers, and cytokines
|Contact: Regina Aragon|
International AIDS Society