“Although far from a cure, such studies provide some guidance towards the logical next steps for research.”
Strategies to eliminate infectious HIV that persists despite present treatments and with the potential to cure HIV infection are of great interest. One patient seems to have been cured of HIV infection after receiving a bone marrow transplant with cells resistant to the virus, although this strategy is not viable for large numbers of infected people. Several clinical trials are underway in which drugs are being used to activate cells that harbour latent HIV. In a recent study, investigators showed that activation of latent HIV infection in patients on antiretroviral therapy could be achieved with a single dose of vorinostat, a licensed anticancer drug that inhibits histone deacetylase. Although far from a cure, such studies provide some guidance towards the logical next steps for research. Clinical studies that use a longer duration of drug dosing, alternative agents, combination approaches, gene therapy, and immune-modulation approaches are all underway.