Breakthrough drugs have made it possible for people to live with HIV longer than ever before, but more work must be done to actually cure the disease. One of the challenges researchers face involves fully eradicating the virus when it is latent in the body. A new report appearing in the December 2012 issue of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology suggests that a cancer drug, called JQ1, may be useful in purging latent HIV infection by activating the virus in the presence of potent therapy – essentially a dead end for the virus.
"This drug may be useful as adjunctive therapy in efforts to purge latent HIV reservoirs to eradicate infection," said Monty A. Montano, Ph.D., principal investigator from the Section of Infectious Diseases at Boston University Medical Campus, in Boston, Mass. "This drug functions synergistically with other HIV purging agents."
To make this discovery, scientists used cell lines that contained latent HIV, as well as cells from patients who were on potent antiretroviral therapy with no detectable virus in their blood. Researchers then added JQ1 to latently infected cells, at physiologic concentrations, and observed potent reactivation of latent HIV. The researchers also observed potent suppression of inflammatory genes in genome-wide expression studies using the same cells. JQ1 reactivation of latent HIV may make it vulnerable to current therapies.
"One thing that's been made clear by the decades of HIV research is that there is no magic bullet for curing this disease," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "Rather, the progress that's been made has been a series of incremental steps that often build on other previously developed therapies. The hope is that the ability of JQ1 to make latent HIV 'visible' to other HIV drugs described in this report will be another cog in the gearwheel of an HIV cure."
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology: http://www.faseb.org
This press release was posted to serve as a topic for discussion. Please comment below. We try our best to only post press releases that are associated with peer reviewed scientific literature. Critical discussions of the research are appreciated. If you need help finding a link to the original article, please contact us on twitter or via e-mail.
Free-living songbirds show increased stress hormone levels when nesting under white street lights. But different light spectra may have different physiological effects as this study finds, suggesting that using street lights with specific colour spectra may mitigate effects of light pollution on wildlife
Scientists identify the condition aphantasia, in which people cannot create images in their head
The dust in our homes contains an average of 9,000 different types of fungi and bacteria, a study suggests.
A mosquito can bear up to 23 times its total body weight on each leg, which is crucial for landing on water – the insect's secret is way it stands
Tropical species with smaller geographical ranges are more likely to die out in a warming climate than those that can adapt by ‘invading’ new regions
Most people think of bacteria as germs, signs of filth, or unwanted bringers of disease. Slowly, that view …
The gloomy octopuses crowded at Jervis Bay, Australia, appear to spit and throw debris such as shell at each other in what could be an intentional use of weapons
Therapies based on hormones that make us more trusting enhance our natural placebo effect – a finding that could alter the way clinical trials are conducted
The blind, hairless babies born recently at Washington D.C.'s National Zoo are completely dependent on their mothers—who can sometimes accidentally crush them.
The poop-hoarding insects have an amazingly advanced internal GPS that allows them to navigate by day or night.