Study of HIV Reservoirs is Key to HIV Cure
05/04/2013

The “International Workshop on HIV Persistence during Therapy” is the reference meeting on HIV persistence, HIV reservoirs, HIV latency and HIV cure. Its 6th edition will take place in Miami (Fl, USA) on December 3-6, 2013. The advanced program is now available.

Online PR News – 04-May-2013 – Toulon, France – For 10 years now, a group of international scientists meet every 2-year in December to share their work on HIV reservoirs and strategies to reach HIV cure.
HIV reservoirs are cells where HIV remains despite years of suppressive anti-retroviral therapy allowing active viral replication to rekindle each time therapy is stopped. Current antiretroviral drugs are, indeed, inactive on these hidden reservoirs, which remain stable on antiretroviral therapy because HIV is incorporated in the cells’ genome where it stays silent. Understanding the nature and the mechanisms that allow HIV persistence in these reservoirs is a major challenge before finding new therapeutic strategies to destroy them.

International Workshop on HIV Persistence during Therapy

However, great strides have been achieved over the last 10 years and potential targets have been identified to try to reduce these persistent HIV reservoirs. One of these approaches, currently in clinical trials, is to reactivate silent HIV from these cells with drugs like vorinostat or panobinostat, in the presence of antiretroviral therapy, in order to “purge” these reservoirs. Although preliminary data show some level of reactivation, these molecules seem not strong enough to reactivate all the latent viruses. Furthermore, cells from which HIV has been reactivated do not die, meaning that a combined approach to strengthen the immune system looks necessary to get rid of these cells. Another strategy is initiating antiretroviral therapy at acute HIV infection, allowing a functional HIV cure in around 15 percent of patients once antiretroviral therapy is stopped. A functional HIV cure is a state where HIV is not eradicated from the body but is controlled by it without causing damages. The third approach currently in clinical trials is gene therapy.

The “International Workshop on HIV Persistence during Therapy” is the reference meeting on HIV persistence, HIV reservoirs, HIV latency and new strategies towards a functional HIV cure or HIV eradication. For the past 10 years it has brought together scientists from all around the world to achieve decisive steps in the field. Its 6th edition will take place in Miami (Fl, USA) on December 3-6, 2013. The Steering and the Scientific Committees contain renowned scientists from the USA, Europe and Australia. Researchers, clinicians and pharmacologists can register in order to share their data and define new avenues for research and therapy. This meeting is the only one driven by science and focused on the discussion of new, yet unpublished results.

The Steering Committee is pleased to announce that the advanced program of the next edition of the workshop is now available. Each session will begin by 2 short lectures given by invited speakers, followed by presentation of new data from submitted abstracts.
The committee has defined the following topics as key issues to move towards HIV cure:
-Basic mechanisms of HIV latency
-Assays to measure HIV persistence
-In vivo and in vitro models of HIV persistence
-Clinical virology of HIV persistence
-Anatomic and non-CD4 cell reservoirs
-Immunology of HIV persistence
-Pharmacology of HIV persistence
-Drug discovery
-Acute HIV Infection and functional cure
-New therapeutic strategies

People working in the field of HIV are invited to register and submit an abstract. The workshop will gather around 250 participants and, as usual, will be an important date in the progress towards HIV curative strategies.

About the "International Workshop on HIV Persistence": its is a scientific workshop funded and organized by scientists in order to understand why HIV cannot yet be eradicated. Alain Lafeuillade (Toulon, France), Mario Stevenson (Miami, USA) and David Margolis (Chapel Hill, USA) represent the Steering Committee. InformedHorizons, LLC is the US company in charge of the logistics.

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