1 January 2013 

Scientists on brink of HIV cure

Researchers believe that there will be a breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV “within months”.

Within months? How come I hadn’t heard about this before? Five years ago, the general consensus was that HIV could not be cured, that we were all doomed, condemned to a lifetime of swallowing toxic medication and battling against HIV related stigma. This means that a cure could now be in my lifetime – in yours. We could see an end to it all – throw away the meds, live like normal people. I can’t imagine what that would be like after all these years.

These are the facts. With modern HIV treatment if medication is stopped, HIV reservoirs become active and start to produce more of the virus.

Heck – better not have any more days off taking my meds then, would hate my reservoirs to become active and start overflowing. Better an HIV drought any day. An HIV hosepipe ban!

This is the article by Jake Wallis Simons 27 Apr 2013

Danish scientists are expecting results that will show that “finding a mass-distributable and affordable cure to HIV is possible”. They are conducting clinical trials to test a “novel strategy” in which the HIV virus is stripped from human DNA and destroyed permanently by the immune system. The move would represent a dramatic step forward in the attempt to find a cure for the virus, which causes Aids. The technique involves releasing the HIV virus from “reservoirs” it forms inside DNA, bringing it to the surface of the cells. Once it comes to the surface, the body’s natural immune system can kill the virus through being boosted by a “vaccine”. In vitro studies — those that use human cells in a laboratory — of the new technique proved so successful that in January, the Danish Research Council awarded the team 12 million Danish kroner (£1.5 million) to pursue their findings in clinical trials with human subjects. These are now under way, and according to Dr Ole Søgaard, a senior researcher at the Aarhus University Hospital in Denmark and part of the research team, the early signs are “promising”. “I am almost certain that we will be successful in releasing the reservoirs of HIV,” he said. “The challenge will be getting the patients’ immune system to recognise the virus and destroy it. This depends on the strength and sensitivity of individual immune systems.”

Ole ole – good ol’ Dr Ole, come on the Danes.

With modern HIV treatment, a patient can live an almost normal life, even into old age, with limited side effects.

Mmmmm – ‘almost normal’ says it all.

However, if medication is stopped, HIV reservoirs become active and start to produce more of the virus, meaning that symptoms can reappear within two weeks. Finding a cure would free a patient from the need to take continuous HIV medication, and save health services billions of pounds.

The technique is being researched in Britain, but studies have not yet moved on to the clinical trial stage. Five universities — Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial College, London, University College, London and King’s College, London — have jointly formed the Collaborative HIV Eradication of Reservoirs UK Biomedical Research Centre group (CHERUB), which is dedicated to finding an HIV cure.

|Cherub – how sweet

“When the first patient is cured in this way it will be a spectacular moment,” says Dr John Frater, a clinical research fellow at the Nuffield School of Medicine, Oxford University, and a member of the CHERUB group.

“It will prove that we are heading in the right direction and demonstrate that a cure is possible. But I think it will be five years before we see a cure that can be offered on a large scale.”

Come on Cherubs, pull your bloody socks up, I might not be around then, catch up with the dashing Danes will you, they are saying within months.

The only thing I know about reservoirs is there are a lot of them in Lancashire. We dog walkers to stroll around them with our dogs – reservoir dogs! Walking is good for building up the immune system and so apparently is having a dog, so I’m half way there. I knew that HIV was still hiding in my body even though it has been undetectable for years but I didn’t know my body had reservoirs for it to lurk in a bit like the Lochness monster. Come out come out wherever you great beast – no wait a minute, hang about, not until they find the vaccine to wipe you out once and for all.


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