Patient Information

FAQ

Why is there new interest in an HIV cure?
There has been renewed energy and enthusiasm for HIV cure research over the past two years, sparked in part by reports of Timothy Brown, the first reported person cured of HIV. At the 2011 International AIDS Conference, the HIV Research community made a commitment to HIV cure research in the Rome Statement for an HIV cure.[1]

What types of HIV cure studies are being conducted by HIV on Trial?
In 2012, a team of 40 international HIV experts, including HIV on Trial/defeatHIV investigator Dr. Ann Woolfrey, made additional recommendations for key scientific priorities for HIV cure research.[2] Of these 7 top priorities, we at HIV on Trial are focused on developing and testing therapeutic agents or strategies to eliminate latent HIV infection in individuals on antiretroviral therapy.

What are the barriers to an HIV Cure?
HIV infects CD4+ T cells and becomes part of (integrates into) the cells’ genetic materials. These infected cells are predominantly memory cells, which may live for several years. These cells may not produce virus until they are activated by infections or other antigens. These infected cells are what people call the “HIV reservoir” – infected cells that may produce infectious virus under certain conditions. While these cells may slowly die, it is estimated that it would take decades of antiretroviral therapy to completely eradicate the HIV reservoir. The major source of the HIV reservoir is thought to be cells contained in the GI tract and lymph nodes.[3]

Why is the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center doing HIV cure research?
The first patient who was cured of HIV infection was cured after receiving stem-cell transplantation for leukemia and HIV resistant cells. The field of bone-marrow transplantation was born at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). We are one of the leading transplant centers worldwide and continue to be at the forefront of transplantation research.
In addition, the FHCRC houses the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN). Through these trials, we have a wealth of immunologic and virologic expertise in HIV infection.

Are you currently enrolling patients in any studies?
Our current studies are focused on understanding what happens to the latent reservoir in HIV patients undergoing stem cell transplantation for lymphoma or hematologic malignancy such as leukemia. In the near future, we will be studying new interventions for killing or purging the HIV reservoir or protecting cells from HIV infection. To see whether you are eligible for any studies, click here.

What if I’m not eligible for any of your studies? How can I get involved?
HIV cure research is a rapidly changing field. Check back often to see whether new studies are open. In addition, there are many other centers doing HIV cure research and many approaches are being pursued, so you may be eligible for one of those centers’ studies.

+Click here to see a table with more information on other studies.

Intervention Mechanism Clinical trials.gov number Sponsor Phase
Therapeutic HIV vaccine Improve immune response to HIV NCT01859325 National Institutes of Health I
Vorinostat (HDAC inhibitor) Purge reservoir NCT01319383 University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill I/II
Disulfuram Purge reservoir NCT01286259 San Francisco General Hospital
Zinc finger nuclease to remove CCR5 HIV-resistant cells using gene therapy NCT01044654 Sangamo Biosciences I
Remove CCR5 and introduce C46 from stem cells HIV-resistant cells using gene therapy NCT01734850 Calimmune, Inc. I
Transplant and gene modified stem cells for AIDS related lymphoma Purge reservoir (Transplant) and HIV-resistant cells gene therapy NCT00858793 Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf I
Autologous transplant for AIDS lymphoma Purge reservoir Transplant NCT01141712 Medical College of Wisconsin II
Autologous transplant for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma or Hodgkin’s lymphoma Purge reservoir Transplant NCT00345865 Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota II
Autologous transplant for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Purge reservoir Transplant and gene therapy NCT01318317 City of Hope Medical Center I/II
Vorinostat plus chemo for patients with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma Purge reservoir NCT01193842 National Cancer Institute I/II
Allogeneic transplant in HIV patients with hematologic malignancy Purge reservoir, HIV resistant cells if possible NCT01410344 Medical College of Wisconsin II

HIV cure interventions will almost certainly require patients to be on antiretroviral therapy. To prepare for HIV cure research, see your doctor, take the medications that you have been prescribed and keep healthy.

Additional HIV Research Opportunities in Seattle

There are many other ways to be involved with HIV research. For more information, please click on the following links:
Aids Clinical Trials Unit
HIV Vaccine Trials Unit
HIV Primary Infection Clinic
Center for AIDS Research

Clinical Care for HIV in Seattle

If you need to connect with an HIV doctor, contact the Madison Clinic at Harborview Medical Center.
 


References

  1. Launch of the Rome Statement for an HIV Cure. International Aids Society. Available at: http://www.iasociety.org/Default.aspx?pageId=584 Accessed June 3, 2013.
  2. International AIDS Society Scientific Working Group on HIV Cure, Deeks SG, Autran B, Berkhout B, Benkirane M, Cairns S, Chomont N, Chun TW, Churchill M, Di Mascio M, Katlama C, Lafeuillade A, Landay A, Lederman M, Lewin SR, Maldarelli F, Margolis D, Markowitz M, Martinez-Picado J, Mullins JI, Mellors J, Moreno S, O’Doherty U, Palmer S, Penicaud MC, Peterlin M, Poli G, Routy JP, Rouzioux C, Silvestri G, Stevenson M, Telenti A, Van Lint C, Verdin E, Woolfrey A, Zaia J, Barré-Sinoussi F. Towards an HIV cure: a global scientific strategy. Nat Rev Immunol. 2012 Jul 20;12(8):607-14.
  3. Chun TW, Fauci AS. HIV reservoirs: pathogenesis and obstacles to viral eradication and cure. AIDS. 2012 Jun 19;26(10):1261-8.