Does this new article on HIV possible cure in future promising?
Jun 3, 2011
Hi Dr. Bob, just read this article on a new approach in Germany of killing HIV infection. What caught my attention is a part that says HIV goes to sleep in memory T-cells and becomes impossible to cure. Does that also mean that when one goes for an HIV test after the 3 month window period that it may not be detectable yet or am I reading that wrong? I am pasting the articles comment with link to it.
"Scientists are also exploring ways to "wake up" HIV cells and kill them. As discovered in the late 1990s, HIV has a way of getting deep into the immune system itself -- into what are known as resting memory T-cells -- and going to sleep there. Hidden away, it effectively avoids drugs and the body's own immune response.
"Once it goes to sleep in a cell it can stay there forever, which is really the main reason why we can't cure HIV with current drugs," says Lewin. Her team in Melbourne and another group in the United States are about to start the first human trials using a drug called SAHA or vorinostat, made by Merck and currently used in cancer treatment, which has shown promise in being able to wake up dormant HIV. "
Response from Dr. Frascino
Yep, you are indeed misreading the information. It is true that HIV can get into long-lived "resting" CD4 T-cells and remain quiescent for many years. This is a very small population of cells, comparatively speaking. New strategies are being tried to flush out these viral reservoirs so anti-HIV drugs can kill the virus. I discussed this approach to cure in my three-part blog "The Search for the Cure Heats Up," which can be easily accessed on The Body's blog page. Have a look, as it has a more detailed explanation of the latent viral reservoir. These infected, but resting, T-cells have nothing to do with HIV diagnostic testing. Specific anti-HIV antibodies are produced, even if a small quantity of virus hides in these specialized cells.
Hope that helps clarify things a bit.
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