NEWS ON THE FIGHT FOR BETTER TREATMENT, A VACCINE, AND A CURE FOR AIDS
Opinion: TB Striking Back With a Vengeance; Need for Research Funds Grows Urgent
Winter 2007 - Mark Harrington, executive director of the Treatment Action Group, in an opinion published in the Cape Times argues that we are living in a time of potentially great scientific accomplishments ... but we are missing the commitment to make those advances a reality.
STEP Vaccine Trial Halted
New York, NY, September 24, 2007 - The Treatment Action Group (TAG) today issued the following statement about the discontinuation of the STEP study, an HIV vaccine efficacy trial conducted by Merck Research Laboratories and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN)
2007 Pipeline Report: Experimental Treatments and Preventive Therapies for HIV, Hepatitis C, and Tuberculosis
July 2007 - The Pipeline Report is the Treatment Action Group’s annual review of experimental technologies that have the potential to solve critical unmet medical needs surrounding HIV infection and AIDS.
Access to Hepatitis C Treatment Through State AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs)
May 31, 2007 - Access to hepatitis C treatment is crucial for HIV/HCV coinfected people. Although hepatitis C can be treated, HCV-associated end-stage liver disease has become a leading cause of death among HIV-positive people in the US.
Notes From the NIAID Workshop on Immune Activation and HIV Pathogenesis
May 18, 2007 - From November 27-29, 2006, the National Institutes for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) held their second workshop on immune activation and HIV pathogenesis, attracting an impressive roster of investigators to the backwaters of Bethesda. The institution of this annual meeting (the first took place in May 2005) reflects the widespread agreement among researchers studying HIV pathogenesis that immune activation plays a key role in driving progression to AIDS. But while this agreement represents significant progress, there remain many questions as to how the virus causes immune activation, and how immune activation eventually leads to immunodeficiency. At the workshop, 37 different presenters shared data and ideas relating to these questions; this report covers some of the highlights.
Can Exhausted T cells be revived? The PD-1 palaver
May 2007 - Anyone who follows HIV research is familiar with how a new potential therapeutic target can suddenly appear in the scientific literature, generating much excitement and hype, only to subsequently shuffle quietly from the scene having failed to deliver on its supposed promise. At first blush, the ominously named receptor called “program death-1” (PD-1) seems like it might fit the profile of such targets-de-jour. The role of PD-1 in shutting down virus-specific T cell responses was first described in a Nature paper in January of 2006, by researchers using a mouse model of chronic viral infection. Over the summer, three separate papers (with a commentary accompanying each) trumpeted data describing the high levels of expression of PD-1 on HIV-specific T cells, suggesting that targeting this receptor might be a way of boosting antiretroviral immunity in people with HIV. It’s legitimate to wonder if the PD-1 palaver is justified, or if the hype has leapt ahead of the science.
Treatment Action Group Supports Maraviroc Approval
May 1, 2007 - Maraviroc is an orally-available small molecule that binds to and alters the shape of CCR5, a cell surface protein found on certain immune cells. HIV infects target cells through a process that involves binding to CCR5. In the presence of maraviroc the efficiency of HIV binding to CCR5 is inhibited and treated cells are resistant to infection. Maraviroc has been demonstrated to effectively block HIV infection in vitro and reduce HIV RNA levels in infected patients in clinical trials.
Palm Project Interview Series: Steven Deeks
February 8, 2007 - Steven G. Deeks, MD is a highly respected clinician and scientist whose work encompasses both clinical care and research into the pathogenesis of HIV infection. Deeks became widely known among treatment activists for his work on individuals with multi-drug resistant HIV who remain clinically and immunologically healthy despite the fact that their antiretroviral therapies fail to fully control HIV replication. Deeks is now involved in many different projects and collaborations but maintains a particular focus on translational research, which aims to translate advances in basic science into clinically relevant therapies and treatment strategies.
Palm Project Interview Series: Douglas Nixon
February 8, 2007 - Douglas Nixon, M.D., Ph.D. is a renowned cellular immunologist who has been working in the HIV/AIDS field since the late 1980s. Nixon's first published HIV research paper, which came out in Nature in 1988, involved identifying CD8 T cell responses against the virus. At that time, Nixon was working with Andrew McMichael's immunology group at Oxford in the UK but he subsequently moved to the US, first working at the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center before establishing his laboratory at the Gladstone Institute, University of California at San Francisco (UCSF).
Palm Project Interview Series: Barbara Shacklett
February 8, 2007 - Barbara Shacklett began studying HIV in the late 1980s and has become a highly respected expert in the under-studied area of mucosal immunity. Shacklett’s laboratory at UC Davis has recently published novel findings regarding the role of mucosal immune responses in individuals who control HIV replication in the absence of therapy. Barbara Shacklett generously took time out to discuss her research with TAG’s BSVP coordinator, Richard Jefferys.