The last edition of the “International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies” took place in St Maarten, December 6-9, 2011. It is now time for the 210 participants to translate into their personal research what they have learned from this meeting.
Toulon, France, December 29, 2011 -- The workshop allowed to understand better fundamental mechanisms of viral persistence and virus-host interactions, and to envision future therapeutic strategies targeting HIV reservoirs. There are technological limitations to detecting HIV-infected resting memory CD4+ T-cells including: the huge volumes of blood needed by culture assay, the measure of defective viruses by PCR-based assays, and the lack of animal models. Additionally, recent studies indicate that two normal physiological processes involved in the maintenance of immunological memory, T-cell survival and homeostatic proliferation, likely contribute to the persistence of latently infected memory CD4 T-cells. In light of this evidence, researchers would like to find ways to recognize latently infected cells, activate them, leading to cell death or clearance by the immune system. Efforts are also ongoing to identify other cell populations than CD4+ T lymphocytes containing latent virus.
To design a cure for HIV infection, different or complementary approaches are needed to target residual virus in ART-treated patients. Some of them are already under testing, like vorinostat, of will be soon proposed for clinical trials, like anti-PD1 antibodies.
Finally, it is already shared by the scientific community that therapeutic approaches towards an HIV cure should be combinations of drugs to suppress inflammation, anti-PD1, chemokine antagonists, etc.
The 210 participants at the “International Workshop on HIV Persistence, Reservoirs and Eradication Strategies” discussed all these aspects in-depth. They were basic scientists, clinical researchers, firms’ representatives, and patients’ advocates, all highly involved in the search of an HIV cure.
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