A Dream Team for HIV Cure Research



Released on: June 06, 2011, 11:36 am
Author: Alain Lafeuillade / InformedHorizons
Industry: Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals

This Sunday will mark the 30th anniversary of the first reports of AIDS in the United States. There is still a long road ahead toward eradicating HIV, but a “dream team for HIV reservoirs cure” has been created since 2003 with this objective.

While the HIV pandemic is still growing, with more than 7,100 daily new cases of infection, there is evidence that antiretroviral therapy costs could treble over the next 20 years.

Today there are more than 30 drugs approved to treat HIV, and while they cannot cure it, they can keep the virus suppressed to undetectable levels in blood. But HIV persists dormant in some “reservoir” and each time antiretroviral therapy is stopped, the infection rekindles. Lifelong therapy is therefore mandatory but brings problems of compliance, resistance, toxicity and cost.

These reservoirs were first described in 1997 and 5 years later Alain Lafeuillade, a French Doctor involved in HIV research, considered that it would be the challenge of the 21st Century. He consequently founded a working group uniting researchers from all over the world that first met in December 2003. This first “HIV Reservoirs, Persistence and Eradication Strategies Workshop” welcomed around 130 scientists actively involved in the field. “At that time we were seen as utopists, Doctor Lafeuillade said, and quite ignored by funding agencies and pharmaceutical companies”.

But minds greatly changed in the following years and in 2009, when the “dream team” met for the 4th time, the workshop was officially supported by the NIH (National Institutes of Health) and the ANRS (French Agency for AIDS Research). In between 2 workshops, the group of scientists are in touch via a specialized website portal they also have created.

“At the end of this year we will reconvene, Doctor Lafeuillade added, and be more than 200 scientists working on HIV cure”. The program of this 5th workshop goes from in vitro models of HIV persistence to HIV eradication clinical trials. “Participants will be able to define a clear road map for HIV cure research with a precise agenda”, Doctor Lafeuillade emphasized.

About the “HIV Reservoirs, Persistence and Eradication Strategies Workshop” Committees: founding fathers are Alain Lafeuillade (France), Mario Stevenson (USA), Robert Gallo (USA), Jose Gatell (Spain) and Christine Rouzioux (France). The scientific board contains David Margolis (USA), Jose Alcami (Spain), Tae-Wook Chun (USA), Mark Wainberg (Canada), Nicolas Chomont (USA), Monsef Benkirane (France), Françoise Barre-Sinoussi (France), Marie-Lise Gougeon (France)… Web site: http://www.informedhorizons.com/persistence2011/index.html

Contact: Alain Lafeuillade, informed Horizons, LLC
1860 Montreal Road, Suite 2, Tucker GA 30084 USA
Tel: +1 770 573 3020 | Fax: +1 866 534 6438
E-mail: kmorris@informedhorizons.com
Web site: http://www.informedhorizons.com/persistence2011/index.html



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