News Release

The ART of combination therapy thwarts HIV infection

Peer-Reviewed Publication

American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The ART of Combination Therapy Thwarts HIV Infection (1 of 1)

image: Immuno-PET/CT analysis confirms the preservation of CD4+ cells during &alpha;<sub>4</sub> &beta;<sub>7</sub> mAb treatment. This material relates to a paper that appeared in the 14 October 2016, issue of <i>Science</i>, published by AAAS. The paper, by S.N. Byrareddy at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA, and colleagues was titled, "Sustained virologic control in SIV<sup>+</sup> macaques after antiretroviral and &alpha;<sub>4</sub> &beta;<sub>7</sub> antibody therapy." view more 

Credit: Byrareddy <i>et al., Science</i> (2016)

In an attempt to move beyond the current standard of care for HIV, which requires lifetime treatment and results in adverse effects like gut damage, researchers have coupled an antibody with standard-of-care antiretroviral treatment (ART), finding that the duo kept virus levels very low - almost undetectable - in nonhuman primates. The new combination therapy could prove to be a successful therapeutic strategy for the long-term control of HIV infection. For many individuals who receive an HIV-1 positive diagnosis, ART is a routinely used approach to keep the virus at bay and minimize disease progression. However, maintaining the drug regimen for extended periods is costly and often associated with HIV persistence, as well as adverse health outcomes. Seeking a new method to potentially lessen patient dependence on ART, Siddappa Byrareddy et al. administered a short course of ART combined with either antibodies targeting α4 β7 (an integrin protein involved in directing gut-based immune responses) or a control to simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV)-infected rhesus macaques. This process was followed by ART withdrawal. In ART-only treated animals, viral loads rapidly rebounded and CD4+ T cells dipped after ART removal. In animals also given α4 β7-specific antibodies, by contrast, virus levels remained undetectable and CD4+ T cell levels returned to normal - effects that were sustained for more than nine months after all anti-viral agents were stopped. These findings suggest the dual therapy may offer an adjunct option that controls viremia and reverses immune system damage without the need for lifelong therapy, the authors say.


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