Navigation Links
Using hair to manage HIV/AIDS and predict treatment success
Date:3/3/2009

UCSF researchers have found that examining levels of antiretroviral drugs in hair samples taken from HIV patients on therapy strongly predicts treatment success.

The findings, published in the February 20 issue of AIDS, note that the levels of antiretrovirals found in the hair of patients on treatment correlated strongly with levels of HIV virus circulating in patients' blood.

"High levels of antiretrovirals in hair correlated with success in HIV viral suppression in treatment and did so better than any of the other variables usually considered to predict response," said the study's primary investigator, Monica Gandhi, MD MPH, assistant professor of medicine at UCSF's Positive Health Program at San Francisco General Hospital.

Typically, clinicians rely on either self-report by patients, pill counts or expensive medication dispensing devices to monitor how well patients are taking their pills as directed. These methods are highly patient dependent and have not been good predictors of treatment success.

Clinicians can draw blood and then measure plasma levels of medications, but since a single plasma level represents medication exposure only hours prior to the blood draw, this method has also not been a good predictor of viral suppression, according to Gandhi. Single drug levels can vary day-by-day for a single patient and may reflect improved pill-taking by patients just before clinic visits, she said.

Hair, which grows at a rate of about a centimeter a month, gives a reading of drug levels that reflects the rate of pill consumption sustained by patients over weeks, not days. Assessing an average level of drug exposure over time may be more predictive of treatment response than the "snapshot" of exposure provided by a single plasma level of medication, Gandhi said.

"Hair sampling for antiretroviral levels could become a new standard to look at how much drug a patient is gettingan equivalent in HIV clinical care of measuring hemoglobin A1C, the method used in diabetes to monitor average blood glucose levels," said study co-investigator, Ruth M. Greenblatt, MD, UCSF professor of clinical pharmacy and principal investigator of the Women's Interagency HIV study.

Researchers took 10 strands of hair from patients on HIV therapy from the back of the head. They cut the hair sample close to the scalp underneath the top layer of hair, marked the part farthest from the scalp with tape and wrapped the strands in aluminum foil. The sample was then stored at room temperature in a plastic bag until it was analyzed.

"This is a painless, bloodless, biohazard-free, method of collecting a stable specimen from HIV patients that may allow for the monitoring of levels of antiretroviral drugs absorbed over time and the prediction of treatment success," said Gandhi. "Our next step is to test this method in resource-limited settings where blood collection and viral load monitoring may be expensive and difficult. Not only could this method help in measuring pill-taking, but its strong correlation with viral suppression could allow its use as an inexpensive, non-invasive method of monitoring treatment success in particularly challenging settings."

Researchers from this group are also collaborating with public health researchers in testing hair to monitor pill-taking in clinical trials of single or dual antiretrovirals in high risk, HIV negative individuals to prevent infection with HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis, known as PrEP, trials).

The 224 patients in this study were drawn from the Women's Interagency HIV study, an ongoing multi-center, prospective study of HIV-infected and at risk uninfected women established in 1994.

"Women taking antiretroviral medications may have more adverse events than men taking these regimens. The safety trials of these medications were conducted in trials consisting largely of men, and the highest tolerable amount of drug in order to successfully suppress HIV is usually recommended. One foreseeable use of this technique may be to fine-tune the amount of drug prescribed. We could measure drug levels in hair, find the level correlating with viral suppression, and then reduce the amount of drug prescribed if it was at a point exceeding the level needed for viral control, hopefully reducing toxicities," said Gandhi.


'/>"/>

Contact: Jeff Sheehy
jsheehy@ari.ucsf.edu
415-597-8165
University of California - San Francisco
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Milestone achieved toward production of malaria treatment using synthetic biology and fermentation
2. MIT: Using touch to help deaf people
3. Dana-Farber oncologists present at ASCO GU -- predict prostate cancer survival using Source MDx test
4. Biological control of tropical weeds using arthropods
5. Defying the disaster: Researcher explores resilient housing
6. Link between unexploded munitions in oceans and cancer-causing toxins determined
7. Singapore research organisations team up to advance drug discovery using brain tumor stem cells
8. While focusing on heart disease, researchers discover new tactic against fatal muscular dystrophy
9. Mayo Clinic researchers suspect a novel gene is causing restless legs syndrome in a large family
10. Cancer-causing gene discovery suggests new therapies
11. Warmer climate causing huge increase in tree mortality across the West
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... , March 30, 2017 The research ... system for three-dimensional (3D) fingerprint identification by adopting ground breaking 3D ... a new realm of speed and accuracy for use in identification, ... an affordable cost. ... ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:8/16/2017)... ... August 16, 2017 , ... We are proud to announce ... at our Dilworth, MN site. The inspection took place Monday, July 31st through ... part of a routine Bioresearch Monitoring Program (BIMO) with the USFDA wherein multiple ...
(Date:8/16/2017)... OXFORD, England , Aug. 16, 2017  Kingfisher Talent, ... search and leadership development, and Virdis Group, global executive search ... exclusive alliance that enables clients to leverage the expertise and ... "For our clients here in the Boston ... diverse population of leadership talent throughout the US, ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... ... August 15, 2017 , ... Kapstone Medical is proud to announce ... medical technology companies and inventors develop and safeguard their latest innovations. The company ... with a portfolio of clients in the United States and around the world. ...
(Date:8/15/2017)... PA (PRWEB) , ... August 15, 2017 , ... ... one of the largest Asian exhibitions for analytical and scientific instruments. This year’s ... will be “New Approaches in Mass Spectrometry for Bioanalytical Applications.” This dynamic presentation ...
Breaking Biology Technology: