Cure for AIDS a step closer as common cancer drug is found to 'purge' dormant HIV from body
A cure for AIDS has got a step closer after scientists found that a common cancer drug can purge the disease as it lies dormant in the body.
Current treatments are effective at reducing levels of the disease in the bloodstream - but a drug that can 'knock out' the disease when it lies dormant is thought to be key to a cure.
Tests on eight HIV-positive men found that the drug was highly effective in 'unmasking' the hidden reservoirs in the body - which the researchers say is a vital step towards eradicating HIV from the body.
‘This work provides compelling evidence for a new strategy to directly attack and eradicate latent HIV infection,’ said David Margolis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
‘Long-term, widespread use of antiretrovirals has personal and public health consequences, including side effects, financial costs, and community resistance,’ said Margolis, who led the study.
‘We must seek other ways to end the epidemic, and this research provides new hope for a strategy to eradicate HIV completely from the body.’
The existence of persistent reservoirs of dormant HIV in the immune system that are not attacked by anti-AIDS drugs is believed to be a major reason why infection reemerges once patients stop taking their medication.
The disruption and clearance of these reservoirs is critical to finding a cure for AIDS.
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