Adding both the arthritis drug auranofin and the chemotherapy agent buthionine sulfoximine to a highly intensified, five-drug antiretroviral (ARV) regimen appears to have led to a drug-free control of HIV in macaque monkeys. After researchers stopped all therapy, the monkeys at first experienced a viral rebound, but they eventually experienced a significant drop in a key indicator of their viral reservoir, as compared with levels measured before they began ARV treatment. The monkeys eventually achieved enough control of their infections to prevent the development of AIDS. The researchers found that the presence of CD8 cells as well as an enhanced level of cellular immune response among the monkeys played an important role in this apparent success. They hope to start a human clinical trial of this approach in early 2014.
Cure: Drug-Free Viral Control in Monkeys