AIDS Research Alliance has helped develop half of the drugs approved for treatment of HIV/AIDS (HAART). Now we're working on a cure strategy. Our lead candidate - prostratin - was a drug first identified at NCI (NIH). In an infected person, HIV hides in "reservoirs" within blood cells, increasing the challenge of eradicating the virus. Our scientists need access to an important technology, "leukapheresis," to gauge how efficiently prostratin activates the hidden virus in an infected person.
In an HIV-positive person, even if under treatment, HIV hides in "reservoirs" within blood cells, making it invisible to current treatment therapies. This latent virus is the single most persistent obstacle to finding a cure for HIV/AIDS.
Prostratin, first identified at the National Cancer Institute as being effective against HIV, forces this latent virus to reveal itself. This allows current treatments to eradicate HIV from the person's body. It will be valuable to our scientists to gauge how efficiently prostratin activates the hidden virus from actual infected patients. This technology, "leukapheresis," will facilitate the next step in our search for a cure.
This technology will facilitate the extraction of a patient's reservoir cells needed to conduct our studies. Our ability to access this technology will play a critical role in our progress towards Phase I in the FDA approval process for prostratin, and ultimately, our search for a cure for HIV/AIDS.