HIV breakthrough as cancer drug could hold secret to curing the virus

HIV breakthrough as cancer drug could hold secret to curing the virus

Doctors using a treatment called nivolumab on a lung cancer patient with Aids noticed a “drastic and persistent” decrease in infected white blood cells

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Expert explains how HIV is passed on

A new cancer drug could “cure” HIV, a revolutionary study suggests.

Doctors using a treatment called nivolumab on a lung cancer patient with Aids noticed a “drastic and persistent” decrease in infected white blood cells.

The findings have raised hopes that drugs could one day eradicate the HIV virus, which attacks the immune system and cur­­rently has no cure.

At present, those infected must take anti-HIV drugs for the rest of their lives to stop the virus replicating.

Prof Fabrice Andre from the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, said today: “Although this is a single case study, it is an exciting result.

Nivolumab shown to cause a “drastic and persistent” decrease in infected white blood cells

“Anti-HIV drugs usually stop virus replication but don’t cure the patients who still have reservoirs of the virus.

“This study generates the hypothesis that drugs that make the virus disappear could, perhaps, cure patients.”

Nivolumab, which has no known side effects, appeared to cause a dramatic reduction in reservoirs of HIV infected cells in the test-patient as well as an increase in T-cells which fight cancer.

Prof Jean-Philippe Spano, who led the medical team at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital in Paris, said: “This is the first demonstration of this mechanism in humans. It could have implications for HIV patients……more here

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