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Author Topic: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV  (Read 2038 times)

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Offline ichigo_kun

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Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« on: March 10, 2012, 12:12:22 AM »

A new approach to coaxing the body to fight HIV without antiretroviral drugs has shown some success in almost half the patients enrolled in a small study, US researchers said Wednesday.

Twenty HIV-positive volunteers in Pennsylvania were asked to stop taking their drug therapy and submit instead to weekly doses of interferon-alpha, an antiviral chemical produced by the human immune system.

The treatment kept HIV under control in nine of the 20 patients at the 12-week mark, and appeared to decrease the amount of HIV present in cells that harbor the infection, known as reservoirs.

The trial was meant to last 24 weeks or until a person's HIV levels either rose or T-cells dropped to a certain level, at which point the subjects were to resume their antiretroviral treatment.

Just eight people stayed in the study for its full 24-week duration.

However, researcher Luis Montaner, a professor at the Wistar Institute and director of its HIV-1 Immunopathogenesis Laboratory, was optimistic that the findings had broken new ground.

"Our data shows that our human immune response can be made to control HIV in persons who have otherwise lost that ability and, if sustained by natural interferon production, it establishes proof-of-concept that a functional cure is theoretically possible," Montaner said in a statement.

"And while we still have much to pursue with this early clinical finding, I firmly believe this gives us hope that one day we can control -- and eventually eradicate -- HIV in absence of antiretroviral therapy."

The research, which has not been published or independently peer-reviewed, was presented at the 2012 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle, Washington.



Offline contagion

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Re: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« Reply #1 on: March 11, 2012, 11:16:47 PM »
Never heard of interferon-alpha before. The report looks half baked though giving no real  numbers. The researcher expects a functional cure because the small experiment "reduced" viral load?

Would have been happier to see a drug company behind the trial.
I have a t-shirt with my t-cells on it.

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« Reply #2 on: March 11, 2012, 11:25:18 PM »
This appears to be the study and Hoffman-LaRoche, a drug company, was a collaborator.


You might want to plan to read the published results once they're available.

Offline contagion

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Re: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« Reply #3 on: March 12, 2012, 11:03:33 PM »
We all will be on a look out for that!
I have a t-shirt with my t-cells on it.

Offline emeraldize

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Re: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« Reply #4 on: March 12, 2012, 11:12:21 PM »

Offline Ann

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  • It just is, OK?
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Re: Small US trial looks at body's ability to fight HIV
« Reply #5 on: March 13, 2012, 10:17:44 AM »
Interferon comes with awful side effects. I'd want a guarantee that it was going to do me significant good before I'd ever take it again. (I injected alpha interferon once a week for a year to get rid of hep C.) I'm not surprised that quite a few dropped out of the study. "Some success" isn't enough to convince me to take that stuff again. It's fucking horrible! It was the worst year of my life - but at least I'm free of hep C now.

By the way, here's my hiv lab results from around that time:

2001-12-04 VL 96,200 CD4 620

2002-02-04 VL 21,000 CD4 620
2002-04-11 VL 00,000 CD4 530 26% Started hep C treatment
2002-07-10 VL 00,000 CD4 460 27%
2002-09-11 VL 00,000 CD4 530 26%
2002-10-09 VL 30,300 CD4 322 31%

2003-01-08 VL 17,800 CD4 363 23%
2003-04-02 VL 06,940 CD4 410 Ended hep C treatment
2003-07-07 VL 40,700 CD4 474

2004-01-28 VL 29,900 CD4 518 28%

Where the VL is 00,000, it's because the test wasn't run, not because I was UD. As you can see, it had a slight effect on my VL, but not much.
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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

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HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts


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