Transplant Drug Sirolimus May Help Eliminate Lingering HIV infections
"Researchers studying the effects of immune suppressant drugs on transplant patients with HIV have made a surprising discovery: A drug intended to hobble the body's defense system may actually help destroy dormant reservoirs of the virus that causes AIDS In a paper published this week in the American Journal of Transplantation, authors found that when a small group of transplant patients received the drug sirolimus, they experienced a two- to threefold drop in HIV levels, whereas patients who received other immunosuppressants did not." While encouraged, lead author Peter G. Stock, M.D., Ph.D. urged caution in interpreting the findings, "We saw a very important, statistically significant signal, but I wouldn't jump on this bandwagon that sirolimus is going to cure HIV," said coauthor Dr. Peter Stock, a transplant surgeon and professor at UCSF. "It does require a bigger study." Also because the study from which the data was analyzed was not designed specifically to examine the effects of sirolimus, the authors said further research was needed to confirm its effects on HIV. Such a study is in the planning stages."