An oral drug used to treat a disease not related to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) eradicated the HIV infectious cells produced in laboratory cultures without affecting the non-infected cells and suppressed the virus in the patients during the treatment and during At least eight weeks after the drug was stopped, according to the results of a pilot clinical trial conducted by researchers at the Rutgers and Dartmouth universities in the United States. “For the first time, it is shown that it is possible with a drug systemically selectively kill the HIV-infected cells that cause AIDS, “says Dr. Hartmut Hanauske-Abel, a researcher at the Rutgers School of Medicine in New Jersey, one of the authors of the study.

DNA-directed treatment in HIV-infected cells has been difficult because the persistent and incurable human immunodeficiency virus is able to insert its own DNA into the DNA of any infected cell by disabling that cell’s ability to die to save other cells from a viral invasion.

The researchers found that the oral drug deferiprone, like the topical anti-fungal drug ciclopirox that they previously studied, reactivates the “altruistic suicide response” of an HIV-infected cell, killing the HIV DNA it carries.

Twenty-six volunteers, both HIV infected and healthy, participated in the pilot clinical trial conducted by the Toronto-based company ApoPharma Inc., which markets deferiprone. Some participants received placebos, others took the drug in two different doses. In the raw data analysis, the researchers saw that of the seven participants with HIV whose serum had a necessary concentration threshold for the drug while they were using it during the protocol. seven days, six showed positive HIV responses during treatment. Participants who completed the entire protocol maintained their responses after the pharmacological treatment was stopped for up to eight weeks.

The authors cautioned that the results do not prove that deferiprone in its current form is a safe and effective treatment for HIV, but believe that its findings provide ample evidence to request funding for larger clinical trials. The main function of this proof-of-concept trial was to learn that it is possible to have a drug that knocks down HIV and prevents its rebound. “The discovery raises the hope that HIV may not be able to develop resistance to this new class of drugs,” says study co-author Paul Palumbo of the Gertel School of Medicine in Dartmouth. “It gives credibility to the idea that just like cancer cells, HIV-infected cells can be attacked and eliminated by a drug.”

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