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What do you think of the report of a drug which attacks HIV in its hiding place?
Jan 27, 2002

Can you give your opinion on this:

Ottawa researchers at the Ottawa Hospital announced this week that a naturally occurring protein can reduce the level of HIV to undetectable levels in dormant cells that hide from other drugs. The team tested a molecule called TRAIL, or tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. This is a protein produced by the body's immune cells.

Response from Dr. Dezube

The research you describe is both promising and sound. In the Nov. 15th issue of Journal of Virology, the group you mentioned describes the ability of the above protein to reduce the amount of HIV to undetectable levels in latently infected cells. Latently infected cells are those cells in which the virus hides. We will only know, whether or not such a protein will ever become part of the HIV drug armamentarium, by designing and enrolling patients into the proper clinical trials. The more patients enroll into trials, the sooner we get answers to these questions. As you can imagine, many great ideas never make it through all the necessary clinical trials. Only time will tell when it comes to TRAIL. That said, the research you describe is nevertheless interesting and important.

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