Did British scientists just cure a person with HIV? A new therapy shows promise for HIV patients. The amazing thing? Researchers hope the new process will cure the disease, not just suppress the virus and treat the symptoms. So far, only one person has completed the trial. Signs are positive.
A potential solution
The first person of 50 in a British trial of a new HIV drug has successfully completed the trial.
The 44-year-old man prefers to remain anonymous, but he reported,
It would be great if a cure has happened. My last blood test was a couple of weeks ago and there is no detectable virus. I took part in the trial to help others as well as myself. It would be a massive achievement if, after all these years, something is found to cure people of this disease.
The fact that I was a part of that would be incredible.
The prospective treatment comes in two installments. First, a vaccine is administered to help the body clear out HIV-infected cells. Next, a drug called Vorinostat mobilizes dormant T-cells. T-cells are the warriors of the immune system, destroying potentially harmful invaders.
In HIV, however, the virus takes over the T-cells, hijacking the immune system, and thereby protects its own existence. The virus can also lay dormant in a T-cell for an extended period of time.
A new approach
The most common HIV treatments suppress the virus, but the intruder can remain dormant in T-cells. It then potentially rears it’s ugly head every once in a while.
This new treatment seeks to get rid of the virus in both its active and dormant form, clearing out the HIV altogether.
Professor Sarah Fidler, an associate professor at Imperial College London explains,
This therapy is specifically designed to clear the body of all HIV viruses, including dormant ones. It has worked in the laboratory and there is good evidence it will work in humans too, but we must stress we are still a long way from any actual therapy.
We will continue with medical tests for the next five years and at the moment we are not recommending stopping Art but in the future depending on the test results we may explore this.
Not an HIV cure quite yet
This study is extremely promising, but the trial is not complete yet. Researchers still have to confirm that the trial has effectively eliminated the dormant virus.
However, this ambitious project shows potential in actually ridding a person of HIV, not just muting the virus.
If the end result is positive, this British research team will have found the cure for HIV. Over 37 million people worldwide have the virus, meaning that their success would be no small feat.
Cannabis as an option
Patients everywhere are awaiting final results. Yet, in the meantime, many of them find relief with cannabis. Though cannabis is far from a cure, there is a growing amount of research that suggests it may ease symptoms and even slow some of the damage from the disease.
In 2014, for example, researchers found that activation of cannabinoid receptors decreases brain inflammation and prevents the virus from attaching to cells.
One pharmaceutical company, Cannabis Science Inc, is already developing a cannabis-based therapy to be incorporated with an immunotherapy drug.
The hope is that cannabis will drastically cut down on inflammation that can wreak havoc in the brain and body of an HIV patient.
Scientists are hard at work on the HIV front. Between the advances in cannabis medicine and the revolutionary British trial, HIV patients are bound to have some improved treatment options soon.
For now, all that the world can do is wait and perhaps test out some medical cannabis.