Tue, Mar 28, 2017 | updated 11:23 PM IST

Ray of hope for HIV cure, courtesy new collaboration

Updated: Oct 04, 2016 08:58 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Oct.4 (ANI): Looks like a ray of hope to cure HIV patients is here.

Researchers at National Institute for Health Research are hopeful of a cure after treating the first patient with a promising new treatment that could kill all traces of the virus.

A partnership sparked by NIHR is behind this collaborative UK effort for the new treatment, which is a first-of-its-kind.

Six years ago this month, a meeting took place between five leading UK research establishments which resulted in a shared commitment to find a cure for HIV.

A partnership sparked by the National Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI), part of the NIHR, identified in that meeting that while there is research into treatment of HIV, as there is for many chronic conditions, there was no research into eradication of the disease.

Each of the British research institutions present- Oxford University, University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, King's College London and University College London- agreed that they could provide a part of the jigsaw needed to find the cure, but could not achieve this in isolation.

Managing Director of NOCRI Mark Samuels said, "This was a meeting of some of the UK's top medical research leaders and it was a privilege to encourage joining forces."

"We understand the power in brokering crucial relationships to pioneer health breakthroughs, and this meeting was a prime example of that," he continued. "Together, we identified a research need which could only be achieved by creating a collaboration between these leading establishments."

"The competitive nature of the relationship between Oxford and Cambridge, spanning 800 years, is widely known, but there is also competition running across all these leading universities, particularly in terms of vying for research funding," he added.

Samuels further said, "Yet here was an opportunity to put that competition aside, and collaborate on a global health challenge. As a result, the Medical Research Council awarded one of the first joint grants to these five leading biomedical research institutions."

"And in return each research centre provides its expertise to complete the jigsaw needed to find a cure for HIV- from patients, to the right doctors, the right diagnostic technology, the mathematician to analyse results and so on. CHERUB was born."

CHERUB (Collaborative HIV Eradication of viral Reservoirs: UK BRC) is a new approach to HIV therapeutics in the UK.

It is one of the first co-operatives of UK Biomedical Research Centres to engage internationally in one of the most exciting new fields of biomedical research, that of HIV cure.

CHERUB brings together, amongst others, clinicians, virologists, immunologists, molecular biologists and mathematical modellers under the umbrella of the NIHR.

Over 30 medical researchers attended a kick-off meeting, and it was acknowledged that so many world-leaders in the field had never been in one room together, even on the conference circuit.

This collaboration is the most significant attempt to find a cure for HIV in the UK.

And in the six years since, great progress has been made. The 'Kick and Kill' study will recruit 50 HIV study participants, in which researchers activate HIV infected cells which are 'asleep'.

By waking them and treating them with an HDAC inhibitor drug, the body's own immune system is encouraged to fight the disease.

HIV is a virus infection that is treatable using Antiretroviral Therapy (ART). ART works by stopping HIV from copying itself and spreading. ART reduces the amount of virus in the blood stream to such low levels that it prevents the virus from being passed on to others, and gives the body's immune system a chance to recover.

But ART alone cannot cure HIV. This is because it only works on HIV infected cells that are active, and most cells infected with HIV in the human body contain resting or sleeping virus. These cells represent an invisible reservoir of HIV, and are one of the reasons it is so difficult to cure the infection. If ART is stopped, usually the virus returns.

There is a strong interest amongst people living with HIV, as well as researchers, to look at different ways that could help to cure HIV and allow people to remain healthy without needing lifelong medication.

Sarah Fidler, the co-Principal Investigator on the study, said, "This first participant has now completed the intervention and we have found it to be safe and well tolerated. Only when all 50 study participants have completed the whole study, by 2018, will we be able to tell if there has been an effect on curing HIV. Professor John Frater's lab in Oxford will lead on the tests and assays to determine if the trial has had an effect."

Professor Jonathan Weber, Chair of CHERUB Scientific Steering Committee and Director of Research for the Faculty of Medicine at Imperial College London, said, "CHERUB has made great progress since it was born six years ago. We are now actively recruiting patients to test the 'Kick and Kill' theory."

"NOCRI was instrumental to this research starting. We are all thoroughly committed to finding a cure for HIV, but if the collaboration between this set of HIV researchers had not been prompted at that meeting six years ago, this simply would not have happened," Weber added.

The NIHR Office for Clinical Research Infrastructure (NOCRI) brings world-leading investigators, scientific industries and research facilities together, acting as a catalyst to make vital research happen.

By brokering crucial relationships, NOCRI helps deliver pioneering health breakthroughs, bringing drugs, devices and diagnostics to patients faster. (ANI)

Ranchi [India], Mar. 28 (ANI): Health Minister of Jharkhand, Ramchandra Chandravanshi has recently claimed that the state has come a long way from the day when Jharkhand was on 18th number among states as far as their healthcare services were concerned. It now stands third in the country, according to an independent survey.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 28 (ANI): Exposure to fungal product, called aflatoxin, is believed to cause up to 80 percent of liver cancer cases in many parts of the world.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): Attention dog lovers! With just six months of training, a German Shepherd can accurately detect breast cancer, a study finds.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): A recent study has found that a sleepless night impairs your ability to interpret subtle expressions of happiness and sadness.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): When it comes to new moms' workout programs, less is more and so, according to a Kansas State University researcher, new moms may need a bit more flexibility and support to ease back into exercise after giving birth.

Full Story >>

New approach to diagnosing mental disorders

Updated: Mar 26, 2017 10:48 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): A consortium of psychiatrists and psychologists has proposed a new approach to diagnosing mental disorders.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): Boosting natural brain opioids may be a better way to treat anxiety, according to a recent study.

Full Story >>

Fecal transplant offers hope for autistic kids

Updated: Mar 26, 2017 09:37 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 26 (ANI): In this new era of medical therapy dawning, fecal transplants are poised to help fight a range of conditions, from deadly superbugs to obesity and now, autism is in the firing line.

Full Story >>

Thiruvallur (Chennai) [India], Mar. 25 (ANI): A highly contagious viral disease of cattle and swine, Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) has affected Karani village on the outskirts of Tamil Nadu's Tiruvallur district.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 25 (ANI): The findings of the National Family Health Survey 2015-16 confirm what we all knew from clinical evidence - that hypertension has become a major health concern among the Indian population, with as many as 22% Indians hypertensive.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A prescription weight-loss medication can decrease the urge to use opiates such as oxycodone, according to a recent study.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers has discovered a new gene that is associated with Tau accumulation, which is one of the defining features of Alzheimer disease (AD).

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): All it takes is the flip of a protein "switch" within the tiny wire-like capillaries of the brain to increase the blood flow that ensures optimal brain function.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): Scientists have found that stem cell therapy repairs damaged lungs - raising hopes of a cure for the crippling chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and cystic fibrosis.

Full Story >>

New method can cut dental implant failure

Updated: Mar 25, 2017 09:34 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with a new method to reduce dental implant failure.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers has come up with a fluorogenic probe that can detect the activity of multidrug-resistant pathogens in an assay system.

Full Story >>

Virus hydrophobicity can help purify vaccines

Updated: Mar 25, 2017 07:46 IST

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers has found that hydrophobic proteins on virus surfaces can help purify vaccines.

Full Story >>

Washington D.C. [USA], Mar. 25 (ANI): A team of researchers has shed light on why survivors of childhood brain tumours may be prone to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and early death.

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 24 (ANI): Continuing its efforts to raise awareness on tuberculosis and its diagnosis, Division of Clinical Microbiology & Molecular Medicine Department of Laboratory Medicine, AIIMS, and BD (Becton Dickinson India) for the third consecutive year organized a symposium today on "challenges in diagnosis and eradication of tuberculosis".

Full Story >>

New Delhi [India], Mar. 24 (ANI): On the solemn occasion of World Tuberculosis (TB) Day, Members of Parliament, policymakers, TB patients, survivors, and citizens of the civil society gathered at India Gate on Thursday, March 23 to pay tribute to the nearly five lakh lives lost due to this disease last year.

Full Story >>