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Antibody therapy opens door to potential new treatment for HIV

RATE THIS! +45
Posted in Science on 9th May, 2016 04:39 PM by AlexMuller

The development of antiretroviral therapy, a combination of drugs that slows the replication of HIV in the body, has transformed the treatment of this infection. What was once a certain death sentence is now a chronic condition that people can live with for decades. But this therapy has drawbacks:

 

There are side effects, including kidney problems, decreased bone density, and gastrointestinal problems. And if a person discontinues his or her treatment, even missing a few doses, the level of the virus in the body is able to rebound quickly.

 
Researchers from The Rockefeller University, along with collaborators from the University of Cologne, are developing a new kind of treatment, an antibody-based drug that may provide a better strategy for long-term control of HIV. Recent findings from a Phase 1 clinical trial, published on May 5 in Science, offer new insights about how the antibody functions.
 
"This study provides evidence that a single dose of an antibody stimulates patients' immune response, enabling them to make new or better antibodies against the virus," explains Till Schoofs, a postdoctoral fellow and one of the study's first authors. Schoofs is a member of the Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, led by Michel Nussenzweig, Zanvil A. Cohn and Ralph M. Steinman Professor, who is the study's senior author.
 
"We reported last year that this treatment can greatly reduce the amount of virus that's present in someone's blood," Dr. Schoofs adds, "but we wanted to follow the patients for a longer period of time to study how their immune systems were adapting to the new therapy."
 
The molecule used in the research, 3BNC117, is called a broadly neutralizing antibody because it has the ability to fight a wide range of HIV strains. Johannes Scheid, a student in Nussenzweig's lab, isolated it several years ago from an HIV-infected patient whose immune system had an exceptional ability to neutralize HIV in the blood by preventing the virus from infecting and destroying a specific type of immune cells, called CD4 cells, in patients. The destruction of CD4 cells is a hallmark of AIDS.
 
Early studies showed that 3BNC117 can neutralize more than 80 percent of HIV strains that are found around the world. The investigators therefore theorized that giving the antibody to patients would help them to fight the virus as well.
 
The clinical trial included 15 patients who had high levels of the virus in their blood, and 12 other patients whose virus levels were being controlled with antiretroviral therapy (ART). The majority of trial participants were treated at The Rockefeller University Hospital. The patients were infused with a single dose of 3BNC117 and were monitored over a six-month period.
 
The investigators found that 14 out of 15 patients who had high levels of the virus at the time they were given the antibody were making new antibodies that were able to neutralize a number of different strains of HIV.
 
"It usually takes several years for the body to begin to make good antibodies against HIV," Schoofs says. "So there might be an even better effect later on, especially if patients are given more than one dose of 3BNC117."
 
The next steps in this research are to test 3BNC117 in combination with other antibodies that target HIV, to determine whether an even stronger antiviral effect can be found. The researchers are also conducting a Phase 2 trial in which patients receiving ART are switched to antibody treatment.

Tags: HIVAIDSvirushealthmedicineresearch

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-10
+1
Combating retroviruses is very important step and not just for HIV. Viral infections are implicated in other diseases and a similar approach could be tried Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-05-10
+0
Being able to change immune system of patients and help develop internal defences could be the best solution! Great advance Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-12-29
+0
Health is not just physical health, but also mental, emotional and spiritual well-being. An important part of the healing process for me is to be active in HIV/AIDS education, support and advocacy. I volunteer in a number of HIV/AIDS organizations, and in particular Positive Women, because the impact of HIV /AIDS on women is very different than from men. As once a positive person, I will forever be grateful to God Almighty and Doctor lucky to reach me when i thought it is all over, Today am happy with my family living free after the medical doctor have confirmed my HIV status Negative, I have never in my life believed that HIV could be cured by any herbal medicine, I want to make sure that HIV never happens to anyone else. We can't prevent HIV by punishment, by stigma and discrimination. It's only through building a safe, supportive and caring environment, that positive people still have hope and they should contact Dr lucky with this email: homeofnaturalremedy@gmailcom so they can once again be visible in our community, to educate and advocate, to take better care of ourselves and our families. We're someone's daughter, partner, mother, grandmother, sister, aunt. When we have HIV, it impacts on our families too. kindly contact him today and leave carefree, on whatsapp +2349050606649 Goodluck. you can also reach me on my mail: homeofnaturalremedy@gmailcom Reply


 

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