Danish HIV research published in The Lancet
The final results from a study conducted by a group of Danish researchers have just been published in The Lancet HIV. In this human pilot clinical trial a cancer drug was used to drive HIV out of hiding by activating production of latent virus.
HIV researchers from all over the world have followed the experiemental study in patients infected with HIV. The preliminary results received huge media attention last summer at a large international HIV conference.
The researchers from Aarhus University Hospital and Aarhus University now have the final results of the trial, which was supported financially by a 12 million DKK grant from the Danish Council for Strategic Research (now InnovationsFonden – Denmark), The Ministry of Higher Education and Science. The results were published today in the first edition of The Lancet HIV, a new online jounal published by the prestigious medical journal The Lancet.
One of the problems with HIV virus is that the virus is embedded in the DNA of resting immune cells where it hibernates. Antiretroviral medication can keep the disease at bay but so far there is no cure capable of completely removing HIV hidden in the cells.
- We have shown that the drug panobinostat (LBH589) can activate hidden HIV. But at the same time we have seen that this activation of HIV virus is not sufficient to enable the immune system of HIV patients to fight and reduce the remaining amount of virus in the cells, says Thomas Aagaard Rasmussen, MD at Aarhus University Hospital.
The trial is the basis for new research where activation of the HIV from the latent stage is combined with an HIV vaccine. The vaccine will enhance the patients’ immune response to HIV and thereby augment their ability to eradicate HIV-infected cells.