Is a cure for HIV on the horizon?
Scientists at Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark say they will begin conducting clinical trials with human subjects following successful laboratory testing of what they say is a revolutionary treatment. The small study, made up of just 15 people, will be funded by the Danish Research Council.
Researchers say they are hopeful within months after the research is completed, a cure may be found.
According to the report, HIV embeds itself in reservoirs in the body’s DNA, deep away from the natural immune system. The new Danish therapy would use drugs, commonly used for treating cancer, to flush the virus from the DNA and allow the patient’s immune system to work in conjunction with the vaccine, to hunt out and destroy all traces of the virus.
“The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognize the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems,” Dr. Ole Søgaard, one of the study’s senior researchers said in a statement.
So, how likely is it that we’ll see a cure for HIV in the near future? Some health experts think the new research is promising but caution it may still be a long way off.
“I think this is an exciting avenue to explore,” says Dr. Catherine Creticos, infectious disease specialist at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center in Chicago. “This is expanding on some very good research that’s been going on for a long time. It’s one more step toward the possibility of a cure, though there is still major work ahead.”
Dr. Creticos also pointed out that flushing the dormant HIV from a patient’s DNA is just a first step.
“That doesn’t mean you’re able to kill it. Next, we’ll have to figure out how the body’s immune system recognizes the HIV and kills it for good.”
Just last week here in the U. S., the National Institutes of Health (NIH) halted a study from Seattle, Washington-based, HIV Trials Network that involved a potential vaccine for HIV, after finding that it was ineffective.
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