Clinical validation of new targets for the inhibition of HIV replication.

01 October 2008 → 30 September 2023
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Immunology not elsewhere classified
Project description

In seropositive patients, a combination therapy for HIV can suppress the virus to very low levels. Unfortunately, the virus remains present in the so-called “memory CD4+” cells of our immune system. The memory CD4+ T cells that harbor HIV are called the HIV reservoir. Until recently, the research community had little hope that this reservoir could be tackled. However, the “Berlin patient” was an HIV+ man with leukemia who received a bone marrow transplantation from a donor which was naturally resistant to HIV and he was declared “cured for HIV” for the first time in history. Subsequently, a French group of seropositive patients starting combination therapy at their time of diagnosis could stop treatment without the re-emergence of the virus. Therefore, there is optimism in the scientific community that HIV-infection is curable for more patients. Our project will focus on new unconventional biomarkers that recently have been developed in the cancer field. We will study these biomarkers extensively in vitro and evaluate potential interaction partners. The potential role of these biomarkers in HIV cure will be evaluated in patient cohorts in follow-up at the Ghent University Hospital. Our research is part of an International attempt to quantify, characterize and tackle the HIV reservoir in order to bring new perspective to our patients