Danish scientists, whose research is considered among the most advanced and swiftly moving in the world, believe they could be only months away from completely curing HIV.
They are expecting results that will show that “finding a mass-distributable and affordable cure to HIV is possible”.
Now new clinical trials are being tested the aim of which is to strip HIV virus from human DNA and destroy it permanently by the immune system.
The method being used by Danish scientists is a totally new approach. It removes the HIV virus from human DNA and then it is destroyed permanently by the immune system.
The technique gets the HIV virus to release itself from “reservoirs” it forms in DNA cells and then, when it comes to the surface of the cell, the body’s own immune system can kill it through being boosted by a “vaccine.”
The results may become a great step forward to the finding cure for the the virus, which causes Aids.
Today people with HIV can expect to live a normal lifespan if they take their medication, as prescribed, every day. Again the word “if.” However, if this new approach becomes successful, people with HIV won’t need any medication.
Dr. Ole Søgaard, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark said there are trials currently going on with fifteen patients and that if the treatment is successful, the “cure” will soon be tested on a wider scale.
“The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”
Dr Søgaard stressed that a cure is not the same as a preventative vaccine, and that raising awareness of unsafe behaviour, including unprotected sex and sharing needles, remains of paramount importance in combating HIV.
There findings are backed up by British scientists, who are researching the same method. It is reported that five universities — Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London, University College, London and King’s College, London — have jointly formed the Collaborative HIV Eradication of Reservoirs UK Biomedical Research Centre group (CHERUB), dedicated to finding an HIV cure along the same lines, reports Business Insider.
In addition, they are focusing on patients that have only recently been infected, as they believe this will improve chances of a cure. The group hopes to receive a funding decision in May, informs the Telegraph.
But this is not the only breakthrough in HIV treatment, which has come about lately, even if it is the most promising.
Physicians at the University of Minnesota have performed the first-ever attempt to cure a boy of HIV through a cord blood transplant to treat his acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
If successful, the treatment would essentially replicate the case of Timothy Brown, also known at the “Berlin Patient,” who was functionally cured of HIV in 2007.
Brown recieved a new immune system resistant to HIV, after he was given a bone marrow transplant from a donor with genetic abnormality that blocks HIV from latching onto the CD4 cell’s CCR5 receptor
This latest attempt at a cure seeks to work around that challenge by using cord blood, which is extracted from the placenta after a baby’s birth and then banked.
Cord blood requires less specific genetic matching, so it is easier to find a bone marrow donor from such samples. The boy’s physicians have found a match that contains the genetic abnormality, called CCR5Δ32, reported Aids Meds.
Two principal approaches are currently being pursued. The first, gene therapy, aims to make a patient’s immune system resistant to HIV. This is complex and expensive, and not easily transferrable to diverse gene pools around the world.
The second approach is the one being pursued by Dr Søgaard and his colleagues in Denmark, the CHERUB group in Britain, and by other laboratories in the United States and Europe.