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The Cure

No Cure Yet, But More Proof Kick and Kill May Eventually End HIV

hiv therapy

British media overreacts to the news, but researchers have pushed forward success in new arena.

According to a Times of Londonstory, British researchers are on “the brink of a cure,”  but as many advocates remind us, the mainstream media (especially in the U.K.) likes to use "cure" in headlines prematurely. Here's what we do know: This recent study was merely more proof that the “kick and kill” strategy may be successful, but final findings won’t be done until 2018.

The technique in this latest study involves using a drug called Vorinostat, that activates dormant ­T-cells. “The cells infec­ted with HIV start pro­du­cing viral proteins that pro­trude from their outer mem­branes — acting like a flag for killer cells that then destroy them,” according to researchers.

The drugs literally attach and kill the HIV cells.

The coalition behind this study includes five leading British universities — Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College London, University College London, and King’s College London — all part of a  medical consortium working under the  National Institute for Health Research Office for Clinical Research Infra­structure for the first time in history. Managing director Mark Samuela told reporters, “This is one of the first serious attempts at a full cure for HIV. We are exploring the real possibility of curing HIV. This is a huge challenge and it’s still early days but the progress has been remarkable.”

Encouraging cautious optimism, Ian Green, chief executive of the HIV organization Terrence Higgins Trust, which runs the hospital Prince Harry recently visited, said: “There is still no cure for HIV and we welcome this ambitious study which looks to eradicate the virus completely from the bodies of people living with HIV, instead of suppress­ing it.”

Doctors involved in the study noted that time is still needed to determine if the "Kick and Kill" therapy eliminated the virus in his system or whether his current antiretro viral therapy may be causing the virus to be undetectable on its own.



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