Swiss R&D Laboratories and Acquest Healthcare Stem Cell Research and Development announce a breakthrough in a novel treatment of HIV infection using the patient’s own blood to increase the patient’s CD4 T Cell Count and genetically blocking the newly created CD4 T Cell from re-infection. The effectiveness and safety of this treatment have been confirmed by in vivo studies in both simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) infected rhesus macaques and HIV infected patients.
According to Nattawat Onlamoon PHD “This new treatment strategy will have a high impact on the patient’s quality of life by eliminating the need to take antiretroviral drugs which may cause serious side effects”
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection causes a marked immune defect due to destruction of CD4+ T lymphocytes. HIV infects CD4+ T cells through binding of CD4 molecules and HIV co-receptors (CCR5 and CXCR4). The CCR5 is the primary receptor for HIV infection.
Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) is effective in lowering a circulating viral load to low or undetectable level and increasing a CD4+ T cell number. Although ART is the most effective treatment for HIV infection, it requires life- long treatment and can have serious side effects. Additionally, some patients develop resistant strains of HIV that won’t respond to ART. These patients become more susceptible to developing opportunistic infections which could lead to disability and death.
Sustained HIV remission after ceasing ART was achieved in patients who were treated with stem cell transplants from donors carrying CCR5 mutation that prevented expression of HIV co-receptor CCR5. The CCR5 is the doorway on the CD4 T Cell through which the HIV enters and infects the CD4 T Cells.
Timothy Brown, also known as the “Berlin patient”, was cured of HIV in 2006 after living with the virus for 11 years. Mr. Brown’s own immune and blood-forming cells were destroyed by radiation, drugs, and antibodies, and then replaced them with cells from a donor with the CCR5 mutation. The existence of the genetic mutation of the normal cell protein called the CCR5 receptor blocked the HIV and thus rendered the Berlin patient virtually impervious to the HIV infection.
Additionally, Swiss R&D Laboratories and Acquest Healthcare Stem Cell Research and Development announce they have made an advancement in their Cell Culture Protocol for CD4 T Cell Expansion. They have developed a new technique where they can achieve a 4,000-fold expansion for CD4 T Cell. In the experiment, starting with 1 million CD4, utilizing the old technology of CD 4 expansion, they were able to expand to 384,000,000 Viable CD4 T Cells. With the new technology they saw a 4,000-fold increase in CD4 T Cells to 3,936,000,000. This will have a major impact on the effectiveness of the technology for the patient.