Research led by scientists at the Gladstone Institutes has identified the precise chain of molecular events in the human body that drives the death of most of the immune system’s CD4 T cells as an HIV infection leads to AIDS. Further, they have identified an existing anti-inflammatory drug that in laboratory tests blocks the death of these cells—and now are planning a Phase 2 clinical trial to determine if this drug or a similar drug can prevent HIV-infected people from developing AIDS and related conditions.
In 2012 the HIV antiretroviral drug Truvada became the first and only medication approved by the FDA for HIV prevention. Led by Gladstone Institutes’ Investigator Robert Grant, MD, MPH, this research was hailed as an important step towards reducing the worldwide HIV/AIDS epidemic. Now, a new study provides further proof that regular Truvada use can reduce one’s risk for contracting HIV—without increasing sexual risk behavior.
One of biology’s most fundamental processes is something called transcription. It is just one step of many required to build proteins—and without it life would not exist. However, many aspects of transcription remain shrouded in mystery. But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes are shedding light on key aspects of transcription, and in so doing are coming even closer to understanding the importance of this process in the growth and development of cells—as well as what happens when this process goes awry.
Perhaps the single greatest barrier to curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS is the dormant, or “latent,” reservoir of virus, which is out of reach of even the most potent medications. But now, scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have uncovered new clues that may help researchers awaken HIV from its slumber—laying the foundation for purging all trace of the virus, and for one day finding a cure for the more than 34 million people worldwide living with HIV/AIDS.