HIV is a growing concern among many across the world. There are quite a few treatments to reduce the risks of HIV. However, any of the existing drugs cannot target dormant HIV-infected cells. The new study using a blood cancer drug shows promise as a cure for HIV. It even attacks and kills ‘silent’ HIV cells! Not only that, the drug also seems to delay reinfections. Let’s dive in to know more about this scientific breakthrough!
WEHI and The Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Australia, have led the study with such incredible results. In the study, the cancer drug venetoclax kills the silent HIV cells and then seems to delay the reinfection as well. Venetoclax drug seemingly attacks the proteins that are needed for the survival of HIV cells.
“In attacking dormant HIV cells and delaying viral rebound, venetoclax has shown promise beyond that of currently approved treatments,” says Dr. Philip Arandjelovic from WEHI, the co-author of the study.
Hidden or silent HIV cells are responsible for the Virus to remain in the body permanently. Current treatment options are unable to treat these dormant cells. Therefore, people infected with HIV have to receive life-long treatment to suppress the virus.
Approximately 39 million people in the world are currently suffering from HIV. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the most effective drug to suppress the virus so far. But even this medication is unable to do anything beyond that. The drug cannot attack hibernating cells or delay the virus from coming back.
The study of using venetoclax is currently in pre-clinical trials. The Phase I/IIb of the clinical trials are about to take place by the end of this year. The drug will be used to treat patients in Denmark. The research team is also thinking about expanding the study in Melbourne.
HIV is a growing concern among many across the world. However, any of the existing drugs cannot target dormant HIV-infected cells. Approximately 39 million people in the world are suffering without a proper cure for the virus. The new study using a blood cancer drug shows promise as a cure for HIV. It even attacks and kills ‘silent’ HIV cells! Not only that, the drug also seems to delay reinfections.
“Venetoclax, alone and in combination with the BH3-mimetic S63845, depletes HIV-1 latently infected cells and delays rebound in humanized mice” by Philip Arandjelovic, Youry Kim, James P. Cooney, Simon P. Preston, Marcel Doerflinger, James H. McMahon, Sarah E. Garner, Jennifer M. Zerbato, Michael Roche, Carolin Tumpach, Jesslyn Ong, Dylan Sheerin, Gordon K. Smyth, Jenny L. Anderson, Cody C. Allison, Sharon R. Lewin and Marc Pellegrin, 30 August 2023, Cell Reports Medicine.