April 21, 2011
Gold Drug Shows HIV Eradication Potential
Using a compound containing gold to treat six monkeys infected with an HIV-like virus, a team of researchers has been able to shrink the reservoir of virus-infected CD4 cells impervious to modern-day antiretroviral (ARV) drugs. These early stage results, to be published in a forthcoming issue of AIDS, contribute to a growing body of research exploring the possibility of curing HIV, this time using a drug already approved for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: Ridaura (auranofin).
Current antiretroviral (ARV) therapy is quite potent. When it works well, it completely shuts down HIV reproduction. Unfortunately, a small reservoir of long-lived HIV-infected cells remains in the body, and when people stop taking their HIV medication, the virus quickly reseeds newly produced CD4 cells and resumes replication.
Traditional ARVs can’t target HIV genetic material (HIV DNA) inside this reservoir of infected cells, notably long-lived “memory” CD4 cells. This is because the cells are inactive; most ARVs only work in cells that are actively reproducing. Researchers are now exploring compounds that wake up these resting cells to help purge their HIV DNA payload or, more controversially, that kill the cells harboring dormant virus.
The rheumatoid arthritis drug Ridaura falls into the second category. According to the paper published by Andrea Savarino, MD, of the Istituto Superiore di Sanità in Rome and his colleagues, Ridaura works by killing off memory CD4 cells while also shortening the lifespan of new CD4 cells produced by the immune system. In effect, Ridaura shows HIV eradication potential on two levels: It can help wipe out the existing reservoir while at the same time prevent new long-lived reservoirs from developing.
To explore Ridaura’s potential, Savarino’s group conducted a study involving six macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), HIV’s primate equivalent. After maintaining undetectable SIV levels in the macaques for at least eight weeks using a typical ARV regimen, the researchers added twice-daily Ridaura treatment.
According to the researchers’ report, the addition of Ridaura significantly shorted both the lifespan and size of the long-lived CD4 cells. What’s more, there was no significant effect on the size of the new CD4 cell population and the monkeys’ CD4 counts remained stable throughout treatment. Marked reductions in SIV DNA levels were also documented.
When ARV therapy was stopped in the six monkeys, SIV viral loads rebounded, but to levels that were significantly lower than those seen before ARV treatment was initiated. Conversely, in six monkeys who underwent therapy with ARVs alone, viral loads rebounded to pre-treatment levels in less than two weeks.
“Our [Ridaura-treated] monkeys showed, upon suspension of all therapies, an improved capacity to keep the infection under control; one of them maintained a low viral load and high CD4 counts for one year,” Savarino is quoted as saying in a press release.
The researchers have decided to wait before moving Ridaura into trials involving people living with HIV. “We prefer not to involve people in a trial of the drug immediately,” said Enrico Garaci, MD, president of the Italian Institute of Health, and coauthor of the study. “That’s because in this phase the trial could only be a proof-of-concept study, and we have already this proof in monkeys. We prefer to put all our effort in the intensification of the attack on the virus reservoir in monkeys by using a combined approach.
“This will also allow,” he added, “a more thorough evaluation of the safety of the approach.”
The authors also caution against using Ridaura outside of clinical trial settings. “[T]he side effects of this approach in the presence of HIV are as yet largely unexplored,” Savarino notes. “I strongly recommend that people living with HIV/AIDS do not buy the drug from uncontrolled sources such as eBay and start self-treatment outside highly medicalized settings.”
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comments 1 - 15 (of 19 total) next
AlexMerida, Merida, 2011-10-25 14:14:53
I have been triying to say that we have to organize in order to move the research faster.. it is possible and we could have the chabce to see it... We have been told that we do not have an option!, but we do. stop bleming tha labs, the goverment, etc..
we have to pay and suport the reserach and to follow.. Zachary Benett is doig some
Janie, North America, 2011-10-07 16:37:42
I missed my dose of sleeping pills the other night and had a very vivid dream about being madly in love with a gorgeous fella.. the even more exciting part.. it was a post aids era.. I say release everything!
wiliamss, , 2011-06-16 10:56:11
why not give antivirals, valproic acid, and ridaura for a year then check the beast out i never have been able to understand why if a person is dying or living a live death why not do some test on the humans that are suffering i think i'd rather be dead than give up and live with the fact it's not ever gonna get better
wiliamss, , 2011-06-15 19:21:20
I would like for someone to tell me what is going on with the tat oyi vaccine a website named resolve says it has perfected it and it works but no expert in the field will even acknowledge this other than that website
Rome, Charleston, 2011-05-24 18:56:04
I think they have a cure, either their trying to hold out on it cause medication is a BIG money supplier for drug companies or their trying to find a drug that doesn't cost a million dollars to make.
TONY, sCOTLAND, 2011-05-22 09:18:51
THE PERSON WHO BRINGS THE CURE FOR OR INFLECTION WILL BE SO RICH AND HAVE THE GRATATUIDE OF EVERYONE LIVING WITH THIS , AS FOR THE TESTING WELL I HAVE NO FEAR OF SIGNING UP COS I HAVE BUGGER ALL ELSE , IT SHOULD BE OUR CHOICE I SAY GET IT INTO ME NOW , AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS CANT BE ANY WORSE THAN THE WAY I AM NOW
Habiba, lagos city, 2011-05-09 17:02:11
i expected that by now we should be talking about HIV cure like any other diseases cos its getting too long i pray this comes out fast and good
CM, , 2011-05-07 22:34:42
I wonder how the combination of SELZENTRY, FUZEON, PREZISTA, VIRAMUNE XR and TRUVADA would do.
James, , 2011-05-06 22:16:03
Ridaura cost is like $300.00 for 30 days and Atripla is $1,725.00 for 30 days. I guess Ridaura is to cheap to use.
Frank, Baldwin, 2011-05-03 23:10:31
With Gold prices ever climbing this is going to be one expensive "functional cure". LOL
However, Let the eBay purchasing begin. In the days of Actup we had to take care of ourselves as a community. We need to push and never stop. The good news however is that Sangamo is producing some terrific results with their CCR5 removal therapy. Competition is always good for the market and its customers.
ethanwilson, Nashville, 2011-04-30 22:58:00
This is all fascinating and so important, but yet again, we have people stalling to put these tests for humans. That always seems to get in the way. I just really wish and pray that we can get these tests done on humans. I mean, there isn't any point if we just keep the studies for mice and animals, right?
Bobby, Torre de Oro, Seville, Spain, 2011-04-30 08:43:41
Don't self treat? Screw ya'll, I'm gonna melt my Franklin Mint Princess Di coins into a cure later tonight!
Michael, Dallas, 2011-04-29 17:46:52
I too believe there is already a cure. Too much money is being made off the treatment and effects of the drugs and disease itself. I'm skeptical since I've been hearing about other drugs like this for years. I believe depakote was thought to do the same several years ago.
Frederick, Southern California, 2011-04-29 13:58:52
This is great news and hoping this moves forward with zeal and passion to bring forth the truth. Here is the problem I am having with this evedence.
Should the National Office of AIDS, The Global Fund, and NIH leaders push for a ramamp up of this science though NIH and other avenues as an Emergency Global Resolution. This is inspiring and should we wait 5 years to find out the truth or should we insist on action and resource now and an Emergency Action to save millions. ACTION for a Cure,NOW
Rodney, San francisco, 2011-04-28 23:00:17
comments 1 - 15 (of 19 total) next
Apparently, South Park was correct; the cure for AIDS *is* money. Or at least gold.
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