Hopes for HIV eradication have been stymied by the current crop of antiretroviral drugs’ inability to get at the reservoir of inactive HIV-infected CD4 cells that hide in the body. Now, Robert Siliciano, MD, PhD, from Johns Hopkins University says not only that it’s possible to get at these cells, but that his lab is already on track to identifying drugs that can wake up these cells. The discovery represents a significant step on the path to ultimately curing HIV.
Not everyone has given up hope about developing a cure for HIV, and one researcher in particular has just moved us one step closer. Working with scientists at Johns Hopkins University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Siliciano, has accomplished something that others believed impossible: a way to develop a drug that can get at the stubborn reservoir of HIV that currently goes unscathed by antiretroviral (ARV) therapy.
The only way to get at this virus is to activate the resting memory CD4 cells, but turning them all on at the same time could be deadly. So how can you turn on only the cells that are infected? This seemingly impossible task is exactly what Siliciano and his colleagues set out to tackle.
Siliciano has reason to believe that HIV might one day be curable. “There are a lot of people working on it as hard as they can,” he says, adding that there’s “increasing interest in the possibility that this can be done.”
Until There’s A Cure… Be Safe. Be Responsible. Know Your Status!