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Belgian hope for HIV treatment

Wednesday May 18th, 2016

A treatment which stops HIV from replicating has shown promise in the laboratory, Belgian researchers have reported.

The Belgian researchers have spent six years developing and studying inhibitors aimed at stopping HIV from using a protein within cells, LEDGF, to attach itself to human genes.

The inhibitors are known as ledgins and so far have been tested on cell cultures.

These studies suggest that using ledgins forces HIV to settle in DNA regions where it cannot multiply.

The findings have been published in the journal Ebiomedicine.

Researcher Lenard Vranckx, from KU Leuven, Belgium, said: “We’ve shown that a treatment with ledgins not only inhibits the integration of the HIV virus, but also ensures that the virus doesn’t multiply once the treatment is stopped.”

Fellow researcher Professor Zeger Debyser said: “This discovery paves the way for new clinical studies with ledgins.

“We don’t know whether this approach will lead to a final cure for HIV, but even a scenario that allows patients to stop their medication for a while is an important step in the right direction.”

He added: "The findings still need to be tested in mice and in clinical studies. That’s why a potential treatment based on the discovery is still years in the future.

“But now, we already know the direction of our future research.”

LEDGIN-mediated Inhibition of Integrase–LEDGF/p75 Interaction Reduces Reactivation of Residual Latent HIV. Ebiomedicine 13 May 2016; doi: 10.1016/j.ebiom.2016.04.039 [abstract]

Tags: Europe | Flu & Viruses | Pharmaceuticals

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