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HIV Cure: Transplant Drugs to Replace Antiretroviral Therapy Due to Higher Chances of Curing AIDS.

New study has revealed strategies to create new defense against AIDS-causing HIV in the form of a transplant drug which is normally used to prevent rejection of transplanted organs that could unlock a working cure.

Researchers at the University of California in San Francisco published a new study in the American Journal of Transplantation which may unlock a cure against HIV using immunosuppressant therapy or drugs used on patients with newly transplanted organs that suppress the immune system from attacking new organs.

"Current therapies fail to cure the disease as they do not attack those viruses that remain hidden within the immune system," Dr. Steven Deeks said, according to ( Medical News Today .

His research team suspected something related to the body's inflammation during immune response to HIV infection. Dr. Deeks wondered if immunosuppressant drugs may reduce such inflammation and help defeat the virus from causing full-blown AIDS.


To determine if the drugs will work, the researchers observed how HIV infection would be affected by immunosuppressant drugs in 91 patients who were followed for a median of 3.2 years post-transplant.

The analysis revealed that the blood samples from participants had well-controlled HIV remainders from transplantation to long-term exposure to immunosuppressants. An immunosuppressant drug called sirolimus used by certain study patients showed they had fewer HIV-infected cells in their blood.

"Based on the observations in this study, the NIH is now sponsoring a targeted study to see if


might indeed contribute to a cure of HIV infection," Dr. Deeks noted.

Their findings suggested transplant drugs such as sirolimus may unlock the key against HIV as it affects viral persistence in the body.

"Our study highlights the potential synergies that can occur when two very different disciplines merge their talents and resources. We feel that the transplant community has much to teach the HIV community about the potential role of strong immune-suppressing drugs in curing HIV diseases," Dr. Deeks added.

Immunosuppressant Drugs

Normally used to inhibit any activity of the immune system to avoid rejection of transplanted organs. But these drugs are also used in different medical issues other than organ rejection.

1. Treatment for autoimmune diseases

2. Treatment for other non-autoimmune inflammatory diseases

3. Used as an anti-inflammatory


Sirolimus or rapamycin is a transplant drug mainly used for kidney transplants and prevents activation of T cells and B cells. It is currently undergoing extensive research to treat diseases such as Kaposi's sarcoma, tuberous sclerosis, autism, Alzheimer's and muscular dystrophy in mice, and lately in HIV to regulate the CCR5 receptor used by the virus to attach inside immune cells.
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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Apr 7, 2014
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