A cure for AIDS has got a step closer after it was found that a common cancer drug can purge the disease as it lies dormant in the body.
Current treatments are effective at reducing levels of the disease in the bloodstream – but a drug that can “knock out” the disease when it lies dormant is thought to be key to a cure, the Daily Mail reported Thursday. Tests on eight HIV-positive men found that the drug vorinostat was highly effective in “unmasking” the hidden reservoirs in the body – which the researchers say is a vital step towards eradicating HIV from the body.
“This work provides compelling evidence for a new strategy to directly attack and eradicate latent HIV infection,” said David Margolis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The existence of persistent reservoirs of dormant HIV in the immune system that are not attacked by anti-AIDS drugs is believed to be a major reason why infection reemerges once patients stop taking their medication.