The term 'chemotherapy' usually brings to mind a powerful but side effects'laden treatment for cancer. However, if researchers from the University of Montreal and the National Institutes of Health are right, it may one day become an effective cure for HIV.
In the journal Nature Medicine, the researchers write that a combination of standard antiretroviral therapy and what they dub "intelligent targeted chemotherapy" may both stop HIV replication and prevent dormant cells that harbor copies of the virus from ever activating. Keeping these viral reservoirs from 'turning on' essentially traps the HIV hiding inside them in a dormant state, preventing it from ever spreading through the body.
Study coauthor Jean-Pierre Routy said the treatment approach could allow HIVers to 'remain virus-free for a long time -- or forever.'
A new study will begin this fall to confirm the researchers' findings.