Possible new HIV therapies, and the potential for a cure

Antiretroviral medications have been at the forefront of HIV treatment for years. Used in multi-drug combinations, they’ve been effective in controlling HIV infections by acting synergistically to lower the number of circulating HIV particles — to undetectable levels in many patients.

These drugs have prolonged the lives of many of those with all over the world, but they don’t cure HIV. They don’t cure HIV because some HIV infects specific cells in the immune system, and can then remain dormant there. Over time, this HIV from some of the infected cells can become active again, replicate and be released into the bloodstream. This cycle can keep repeating such that the virus will always eventually reappear. The antiretrovirals suppress the virus, but if the drugs are stopped, the virus returns to the blood. The antiretrovirals and the patient’s immune system hold the virus in check, but neither side wins.

Researchers have been working for years to try to end this stalemate. Recently a few new techniques have been developed that may help with the problem. None of these techniques represent a cure in and of themselves. But, perhaps, if used in conjunction with each other and the antiretrovirals, they may be able to produce a cure in the future.

Broadly Neutralizing Antibodies (BNAs)

HIV is a shapeshifter virus. It mutates often. Some of these mutations affect the surface of the protein outer coat of the virus. At times, when that happens, the antibodies that the patient has made to destroy the HIV will no longer work. These antibodies have specific structures that mate with reciprocal structures on the virus. When that reciprocal structure changes, the antibody fails to attach to the HIV particle. When that happens, the HIV isn’t cleared by the body and the virus can then remain in the blood infecting other cells. It can continue to infect at least until the immune system retaliates by shapeshifting on its own to produce new, effective antibodies.

Scientists have discovered that there are some antibodies against HIV that aren’t limited to a single, small site. That is, these antibodies don’t focus on just a small part of the HIV coat. They look at larger pieces of this shell. These antibodies can still work even when mutations cause small changes in the structure of the virus. This class of antibodies, called broadly neutralizing antibodies (BNAs), has been synthesized and can be injected in to humans.

Scanning electron micrograph of the HIV-1 virus, colored green, budding from cultured lymphocyte, via Creative Commons

Scanning electron micrograph of the HIV-1 virus, colored green, budding from cultured lymphocyte, via Creative Commons

There has been an initial trial of BNAs in humans. A dose of BNA was injected intravenously into volunteers. Those who had HIV showed a significant decrease in viral load, usually within a week after the injection. Their viral loads gradually started to increase as the infused antibody deteriorated over time. If this result is duplicated in other trials, it may mean that HIV can be suppressed with an IV injection every few months. Possibly freeing HIV patients from daily medications.

Data from these trials could also lead the way for the development of an anti-HIV vaccine. Researchers may find a way to get the immune system of an uninfected person to start producing BNAs that would then protect them from acquiring HIV. Again, not a cure by itself. But read on to see another strategy that might be combined with this for a possible cure:

Kick and Kill.

One of the problems in treating HIV is the fact that the virus establishes reservoirs in certain populations of cells. As I mentioned above, the virus in these cells can act to reseed the bloodstream with HIV episodically and thereby prevent antiretrovirals and the body’s immune system from removing all of the HIV allowing for a resultant cure.

The concept of “kick and kill” refers to targeting the cells that still harbor HIV. Depending on the study and drug(s) used, researchers will target the cells that host the resting HIV, attempting to either totally destroy all of the infected cells, cause them to eject all of their protected HIV or some combination of both.

In one technique, some of the individual patients’ specific HIV RNA is harvested. That RNA is then given to dendritic cells. These cells are then used to stimulate the production of T cells that are even more efficient than the patient’s own active T cells, as they are better at locating infected cells and destroying them. As those infected cells are destroyed, the HIV is released and can be cleared from the blood.

Another method uses a drug that acts to cause the cells infected with HIV to externalize the virus. The end result is that most of the cells survive now without having any remaining HIV.

Dr. David Margolis is trying a different approach. He’s using a class of drugs known as histone deacetylace inhibitors (HDACs).
One member of this class, vorinostat, when applied to HIV-infected reservoir cells, causes the HIV to reanimate, replicate and burst out of the cells. The idea is that patients given vorinostat could have a massive release of all of their hidden HIV at the same time. If those patients are also given BNAs and are taking antiretrovirals, all of the patient’s HIV would, in theory, be expressed from cells, neutralized and cleared. Thus resulting in a cure.

Of course, all of the above are still in various stages of development. Only two have made it into FDA clinical trials as yet. A lot of work still needs to be done on all of these possible therapies. That will take a few more years, at least. But all of these are interesting possibilities for treatments and, possibly a potential cure, showing how creative researchers can be when facing such a challenging problem as HIV.


Mark Thoma, MD, is a physician who did his residency in internal medicine. Mark has a long history of social activism, and was an early technogeek, and science junkie, after evolving through his nerd phase. Favorite quote: “The most exciting phrase to hear in science... is not 'Eureka!' (I found it!) but 'That's funny.'” - Isaac Asimov

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  • Leah Rays

    DR AGADAGUDU , I AM VERY GRATEFUL TO YOU FOR YOUR TRANSPARENCY AND ASSISTANCE IN CURING MY HIV WITHOUT ANY HEARTACHES AND STRESS !!!

    I want to express my total thanks and utmost gratitude to this great man { Dr Agadagudu SuperPower } for helping me cleans out my Hiv from the postive status to a negative status with his sprititual/medical excellent proofs to behold and due to this reason , i am very happy and grateful to this great powerful doctor for not allowing my enemies laugh over me and This is why i have decided to thank him and give kudos to him just for bailing me out of this type of medical difficulty that has eating me .. both emotionally and socially and this desease is currently eating deep into the world as this has lived a whole lots of persons out of fear and confusion .. since we all know the outcome of this deadly virus .. which is >>> DEATH …When i first got the result from the laboratory in the regards to my infection with this deadly virus .. i thought that all hopes was lost and as a result of my loniliness and deep pains that i could not open up to anyone ,i started attending Hiv awareness seminer and frequent conselling stuffs and not just that , i also began my checking out through the online world to see if i could come across the principles which could assist me throughout this period of my HIV POSITIVE STATUS, Relunctantly , i clicked on a testimony on facebook of one woman called Faith Clive from jamaica and i read through out her sad stories of how she got infected and how she was stereotyped and resticted in the society even by her friends and a few family members but God was always on her side as she meant a Genuie Hiv cleansing doctor online { Dr Agadagudu SuperPower } who helped her have her HIV CLEANSED / CURED TOTALLY in 3 days with a %101 percent guarantee and due to all this that i saw concerning her… I believed her as i saw that we were having almost the same story and history ,I copied the email address of the Dr Agadagudu SuperPower{ [email protected] } and this was how i got to communicate with the said doctor for a cure and after my consultation with him i was having a few doubts because my mum made me understand that the only way was medical and not spritual as she adviced me not to proceed because there was no generalproven cure for the Hiv virus but upon my constand conversation with this great doctor… i latter found out that there are still people who are kind and genuie in this world because i was initially meant to understand that there are no real cure for now but he gave me several reasons why he has the cure for this deadly virus and why he has decided to assist man kind with his cure ….. all thanks to him though for this great this that he has done as i have vowed to send and tell the stories to my children unborn .. because i am free and free indeed and you can have me contacted on [email protected]. you can also contact him , if you need your ex back or if you need someone you love to love you back , he can assist you on all this without stress , because he is a specialist in this things.
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  • DR AGADAGUDU WORLD SPIRITUAL P

    DOCTOR AGADAGUDU SUPERPOWER IS INDEED A SUPER POWER HUMAN / DOCTOR TO HAVE CURED AND TOTALLY CLEANS MY HIV VIRUS WITHIN 3 DAYS .

    Hello everyone reading this post , my name is Enaney Dumsi a female ,i am from Dublin in Ireland , i got infected with Hiv 3 years ago after i was raped by some dumb sorts of rapist who called themselves armed rubbers, it was on sunday night after the entire family had settled to sleep due to a long time stress out and the rest by all of us in the house and suddenly we heared a strange knock at the door .. behold they were rubbers as they treatened to bring down the door if we did’nt open it to them willingly and we had no choice other than to open the door since they were all armed, They came in and took out all our money and they also took away my virginity that night by forcefully sleeping with me , they were 3 in numbers as they had all of me with force and at gun point, This was the most aweful experience of my life and due to this stress and shock , i fell ill for days and after about 2 days my mum took me to the hospital for a total check up but i was later advised to get an Hiv testing done for clarification reasons since i was raped but i never knew that my rape incendent with those hudlums could have had me infected just like that but luck was not on my side as the results showed that i have been infected by those God forsaken armed rubbers on that very night that i will live never to forget … This was a great shock to me and a treat to my carrier and happiness because i was at the verge of having successin my carier as i was a final year student of LAW who was envied by almost everyone in my department …my life was in a great shamble and mess as i was very confused and due to all this my family and i began to look out for a permanent solutions for about 3 years but all attempts to get help online was not working out because i was constantly been scammed and decieved not until one very day that i opened up to a friend who now latter explained to me that she was also a victim of this virus but was latter cured by an online doctor called DR AGADAGUDU SUPER POWER online without any stress or heartaches , she showed me her former results which showed that she was infected and showed me another result of when she was cured after her encounter with this doctor.. i was so bittered for not telling out my pains for a long time instead of suffering throughout this silent period and i immediately got the contact details from her and i got the doctor contacted for a solution … I followed his instruction and i am here today .. sound and healthy and free from this deadly virus that would have caused me my entire life and happiness you can have this doctor contacted on for any issues such as Cancer , Hiv / Aids , Lukemia , Asthma , and any other sickness .

  • Helen James

    All thanks to dr Aigbor for his good work
    and for healing my brother for HIV sickness he was very sick for five years and my daddy have spend so much money on medical care and drug he have being taking to some many place for healing… even different pastor have pray for him it get worse every 6hous the man that heal with 45mins is here the man that the lord god have giving the power to put every thing in place the man that give a word and never fail my kid brother was just chatting one day when he see this post of jack about the curing of HIV/ADIS virus by dr Aigbor he run to my daddy and tell him about the man my daddy decided to call him and confirm it, if it is true about the cure the man just assure him about his work that the great power of is for father and his gods cure any disease include HIV/AID, Rota virus, Smallpox ,Hepatitis well we have hope on him which we give a try to after five days my kind brother started
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  • Tyler J Nicholas

    I am here to thank Dr Okwyzil,, the powerful spell caster that rescue me from HIV AIDS. I was diagnosed of this disease in the year 20145,and because of this, i was very unhappy with my life, and i went into research on how i can get cured, i contacted alot of spell casters and none of them could help me rather than scammed me and took away my money without helping me. All this period of my life, i was sad and unhappy so one day as i was in the internet a decided to sign in a friend focebook, only for me to see was a testimony of a lady on how she was helped by Dr Okwyzil,, so i was confused to contact him at the moment because i didn’t want to be scammed again but after one week, i decided to contact him, so when i contacted him, he assure me that he will help me and i told him that many spell casters has also told me this but they all scammed me, he told me not to worry that he is going to help me, So i believe in him because all i wanted was to be cured, so he prepared a healing spell for me and told me to wait for just 2day , i went to the hospital for test and to me happiness the test stated that i was cured from the disease.. This gladdens my heart and everybody in the hospital was surprised even the Medical Doctor, So viewers Dr Okwyzil,, is a God Gifted man and can help you to cure all types of sickness like HIV AIDS, CANCER, PILE, KIDNEY PROBLEM, SYPHILIS, DIABETES and lot’s more. You can contact him through his email on [email protected] or [email protected] . For more details you call reach me on my:+2349030387805

  • Tyler J Nicholas

    I was been suffering hard ship from HIV/AIDS since 9yrs now, and i happen to have 2 kids for my husband, and now we cannot proceed to have another kids all because of my disease and now i have do all what a human like i and my husband can do just to get my disease healed, i have went to several places to seek for help not even one person could ever help, until i melt a comment on the daily news paper that was commented by Miss Marilyn about how this powerful traditional doctor help her get cured of the disease (HIV-AIDS) ” my fellow beloved” i firstly taught having a help from a spiritual traditional healer was a wrong idea, but i think of these, will i continue to stress on these disease all day when i have someone to help me save my life?” so i gather all my faiths and put in all interest to contact him through his Email address at [email protected] , so after i have mailed him of helping get my disease cured, i respond to me fast as possible that i should not be afraid, that he is a truthful and powerful doctor which i firstly claimed him to be. So after all set has been done, he promise me that i will be healed but on a condition that i provide him some items and obeyed all his oracle said. I did all by accepting his oracle fact and only to see that the following week Dr Okwyzil, mail me on my mail box that my work is successfully done with his powers, i was first shocked and later arise to be the happiest woman on earth after i have concluded my final test on the hospital by my doctor that i am now HIV- Negative. My papers for check are with me and now i am happy and glad for his miraculous help and power.With these i must to everyone who might seek for any help, either for HIV cure or much more to contact him now at these following email now,Email: [email protected] ” sir thank you so much for your immediate cure of my disease, i must say for curing my disease, i owe you in return. Thanks and be blessed sir.My name is hope His Email address is:[email protected] . or [email protected] you can contact his phone number+2349030387805

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  • Mike_in_the_Tundra

    I was with my first husband for almost 28 years until he died from cancer five years ago. We were able to avoid the plague through the worst times by being monogamous, but we often wondered how we survived the time when people just didn’t know what was happening. My late husband had a theory which I guess is a possibility. He felt that those of us who survived had inherited some sort of immunity to some similar virus. Whatever happened, it just didn’t seem fair that some of us dodged a bullet that hit so many of our beloved friends.

  • docsterx

    Indigo and 2karmanot (and others),

    The Lavender Effect http://www.thelavendereffect.org/projects/ohp/ is making videos of people who survived the early epidemic. You might want to take a look at that. Also, there are some other histories, and oral histories that are available. One on the National Institutes of Health’s website records thoughts of the early HIV researchers and health care professionals on being confronted with AIDS. http://history.nih.gov/NIHInOwnWords/index.html You two, and others, might be interested in finding a site that is recording and storing the descriptions of what the epidemic was like by those who survived it. There are oral histories scattered around in the EU, NYC, Brooklyn, SF, LA, Minnesota and other places.

  • Indigo

    I’ve stopped telling them, nobody’s listening anymore.

  • 2karmanot

    Same here……oh, the stories we could tell, and should.

  • Indigo

    Any improvement in treatment is welcome. I don’t know how I remained uninfected right through the worst of it, but I followed the cautionary recommendations then and still do. Everybody in my 70s crowd is gone now, except me, but life goes on and we play the hand we have. I’m continually impressed at improvements and fresh therapies that seem to hold more and more promise for those who live with the HIIV disease. It’s a challenge, that’s certain.

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