ITM researchers have been working on a “functional” cure for HIV infection for a long period of time. They recently validated a range of assays with which they can identify patients in whom the viral reservoir is low enough to safely interrupt antiviral treatment and which consequently may lead to a natural control of HIV infection. The researchers are pursuing this historic breakthrough in HIV treatment in a phase I/II clinical trial.
Analytical treatment interruption in HIV positive patients with low viral reservoir to evaluate the potential of a functional cure
- Eric Florence (Department of Clinical Sciences)
- Guido Vanham (Department of Biomedical Sciences)
- This project is developed within the global frame of finding a “functional” cure for HIV infection, i.e. a long-term control of HIV-1 replication and disease progression in the absence of treatment.
- There is a growing body of evidence that stopping treatment in a carefully selected population may not only be safe, but also lead to a natural control of HIV infection.
- ITM researchers and others have reported that post-treatment control (PTC) is associated with an extremely low HIV reservoir before interrupting treatment, the absence of HIV transcription and possibly a low viral fitness.
- Unfortunately these cases were retrospective and/or discovered by chance. A systematic prospective study to better understand this phenomenon of PTC remains absent.