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HIV Cell Therapy in Development

Oct 8, 2018 10:13:00 AM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in Leukopak, leukopaks, HIV, T Cells

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Combining various treatment approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV cure states.

From the time that HIV-related illness and death was first realized in the 1980s until now, efforts to fully understand HIV infection and pathogenesis have been ongoing along with massive research efforts to discover a cure or means to control the spread of the virus. The newest antiviral therapies have made an extraordinary impact on the control of disease progression; however, these do not cure HIV infection and the viral activity returns shortly after antiviral dosing stops. Approaches to achieve HIV immunity are heavily studied, including developing means to provide HIV immunity in T cells and conferring HIV-resistance via gene editing. However, combining various approaches is seen as a viable, more powerful means to achieve HIV control or even a cure.

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DARTs-Targeting the Elimination of HIV-Infection

Sep 7, 2016 3:42:11 PM / by Stacy Matthews Branch, DVM, PhD posted in CD4, CD4+ helper T cells, Cytotoxic T Cells, HIV, research

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Available therapies used to prevent the development of AIDS in HIV-infected individuals work by reducing the level of infection, but do not completely destroy the infection. A persistent source of HIV-infected cells remains in HIV-infected individuals despite being on long-term antiviral therapy. This causes ongoing inflammation and immune system activation, putting these individuals at risk for developing non-AIDS diseases and conditions. Given the increased risk of health with the persistent presence of HIV-infected cells, new treatment approaches are needed that will completely eliminate or kill the HIV-infected cells, removing the source (reservoir) of these cells.

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Nipping HIV Transfer from Monocyte Derived Dendritic Cells in the Bud

Jul 4, 2016 1:00:15 PM / by Steffen Porwollik posted in actin, dendrites, HIV, macropinocytosis, research, shRNA, T Cells, Helper T Cells, T lymphocytes

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During HIV infection, the virus is taken up by dendritic cell populations (modeled in vitro by monocyte derived dendritic cells, MDDC), which subsequently transfer the virus to T lymphocytes. Scientists identified MDDC processes that affect transfer success – revealing ways to prevent early virus dissemination.

Dendritic cells are the human body’s border patrol. Many of these cells circulate in body areas that are in contact with the outer world, such as the linings of the stomach and nose or in the skin. When they encounter a foreign (and possibly dangerous) object, they swiftly scoop it up and present its characteristics to the authorities, the cell-mediated immune system in the form of T cells. Once the T cells have received the invader's footprint, they spring into action by replicating and secreting cytokines that shape the body’s immune response, eventually neutralizing the intruder.

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HIV Replicates in Macrophages, Independent of T Cells

Apr 20, 2016 1:00:20 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in CD4+ T cells, HIV, research

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New research indicates that HIV infects and replicates in macrophages, which has significant implications for finding a cure.

Despite the advances made with the development of antiretroviral therapy (ART), more than 37 million people worldwide are currently living with HIV, and another 2 million are expected to become infected each year. A low T cell count and HIV no longer go hand in hand, as ART can reduce blood HIV levels to undetectable levels, but viral reservoirs persist even during treatment. Strategies that identify the viral reservoirs and eliminate them are necessary to completely eradicate the disease.

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Persistent HIV Replication Replenishes Viral Reservoirs During Antiretroviral Therapy

Mar 16, 2016 1:00:24 PM / by Karina Palomares posted in antiretroviral therapy, HIV, Uncategorized

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Persistent HIV replication in lymphoid tissues refills viral reservoirs during ART, even in patients who have achieved undetectable levels of HIV.

Since the development of reverse transcriptase and protease inhibitors in the 1990s, antiretroviral therapy (ART) has revolutionized HIV treatment. In most patients, current ART regimens suppress HIV to undetectable levels in the blood, halting disease progression and allowing reconstitution of the immune system. However, if a patient stops treatment, the virus quickly reappears, indicating that ART does not eliminate persistent viral reservoirs in the tissues. Are these reservoirs maintained because of the existence of latently infected cells, or because low-level HIV replication persists even during ART?

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