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June 18, 2009

Baylor Health Care System Receives $8M to Research Drug-Free HIV Treatment

The government of France has donated $8 million to the Texas-based Baylor Health Care System to develop a therapeutic way to manage HIV without drugs, the Dallas Morning News reports.

According to the article, the funding will be used to establish an HIV research component to Baylor’s Institute of Immunology Research. The money will go toward equipment, staff and clinical trials.

Jacque Banchereau, MD, Baylor’s director of immunology research, specializes in dendritic cells, which are the body’s first line of defense against disease and infection. Through his research, Banchereau is hoping to extract these cells from HIV-positive patients, manipulate them and then inject them back into the patients’ bodies to help control the virus without antiretroviral medication.

Banchereau has 10 northern Texas patients in Phase I of the trial, all of whom have lived with HIV for several years and have been on medication. The trial requires, however, that participants go off their medication during the testing.

“When you interrupt therapy, the virus comes back,” Banchereau said. “We hope that it comes back much slower. If we can do that, we hit a home run.” Baylor hopes primary trials go well enough to move on to Phase II of the clinical trial, which could include additional participants.

Search: Baylor, Texas, drug-free, Jacque Banchereau,


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