Drug Helps Purge Hidden HIV, Study Shows
In a clinical trial, six HIV-infected men
who were medically stable on anti-AIDS
drugs received vorinostat, an oncology
drug. Recent studies by Margolis and others have shown that vorinostat also attacks
the enzymes that
keep HIV hiding in
certain CD4+ T
immune system cells
that the virus uses
to replicate. Within
hours of receiving
the vorinostat, all
six patients had a
in HIV RNA in
these cells, evidence
that the virus was
being forced out of
its hiding place.
Ateam of researchers at UNC has uccessfully flushed latent HIV infection from hiding, with a drug
used to treat certain types of lymphoma.
Tackling latent HIV in the immune
system is critical to finding a cure for
AIDS. While current antiretroviral therapies can very effectively control virus levels, they can never fully eliminate the virus
from the cells and tissues it has infected.
“Lifelong use of antiretroviral therapy is
problematic for many reasons, not least
among them are drug resistance, side
effects and cost,” said Dr. David Margolis,
professor of medicine, microbiology and
immunology, and epidemiology. “We
need to employ better long-term strategies,
including a cure.”
COURTESY OF DAVID MARGOLIS
Margolis’ new study is the first to
demonstrate that the biological mechanism
that keeps the HIV virus hidden and
unreachable by current antiviral therapies
can be targeted and interrupted in humans,
providing new hope for eradicating HIV.
Vorinostat may not be the magic bullet,
but this success shows us a new way to test
drugs to target latency and suggests that we
can build a path that may lead to a cure.”
The research is
part of a UNC-led
funded by the
of Allergy and
The consortium is
administered by the
and Clinical Sci-
ences Institute at
UNC, one of 60 medical research institu-
tions in the U.S. working to improve bio-
medical research through the NIH Clinical
and Translational Science Awards program.
Funding for this research was provided
by the National Institutes of Health,
Merck & Co. and the James B. Pendleton
“This proves for the first time that there
are ways to specifically treat viral latency,
the first step towards curing HIV infection,” said Margolis, who led the study.
“It shows that this class of drugs, HDAC
inhibitors, can attack persistent virus.
Valid on entire purchase, May 1 – November 15, 2012 in our Chapel Hill store only, with this coupon. Limit one coupon per customerpervisit.Cannotbecombinedwithotherpromotionaloffers.
Not valid on sale items, gift cards, electrics or previous purchases.
Expires November 15, 2012.