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Scientists Take Aim at HIV


A team of scientists from Denmark, America and Germany is hoping to wipe out the HIV virus by combining two types of medicine in a “super cocktail” that is extremely toxic to the resilient HIV virus.

“It’s a very important step on the way to finding a cure for HIV,” says project leader Ole Søgaard, MD, a senior researcher at Aarhus University Hospital. “I’m quite optimistic and believe we’ll see an effect.”

Professor Niels Obel, MD, who leads another large HIV research project at the University of Copenhagen, Rigshopsitalet, adds, “I can imagine a future in which we’ll be able to entirely eliminate HIV from the body.”

Last year, the same team of scientists successfully lured the virus from its hiding place with the anticancer agent romidepsin.

“The general idea is to get the HIV, which conceals itself in the cells of the patient’s immune system, out onto the surface of the infected cells so they can be recognized by the immune system,” says Søgaard.

Now the researchers are combining romidepsin with another drug that contains highly-effective antibodies from a patient who was exceptionally good at fighting the immune cells infected with HIV.

The scientists are cloning the part of the patient’s cell that is able to produce the antibodies and then reproducing it.

A total of 30 patients, from Aarhus, Cologne and New York will participate in clinical trials over the next two years. Søgaard thinks it looks promising.

“I believe the number of HIV infected cells in our trial patients will decrease.”

Source: Science Nordic