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Crohn’s disease drug produces long-lasting viral undetectability and T-cell restoration off treatment in monkeys
Gus Cairns, 2016-10-14 20:30:00
In a promising experiment in rhesus macaque monkeys,
scientists from Emory University in Atlanta have used a monkey-adapted version
of vedolizumab (Entyvio), a drug used
to treat gut inflammation, to produce persistent viral load control and T-cell restoration
in monkeys taken off antiretroviral therapy (ART).
The viral control and immune recovery persisted for 30 weeks: 14 weeks
after monkeys were taken off ART but kept on the vedolizumab analogue, and
for 16 more weeks after this was withdrawn. In fact, viral load control appeared
to continue to improve throughout the period when the monkeys were off all
The researchers are uncertain why the drug works, but saw increases
in a particular kind of Natural Killer (NK) cell that appears to be enabled
by the drug to deal with HIV infection better, and an immune response to the HIV
envelope protein that resembles one of the responses seen in the trial of the
RV144 HIV vaccine.
A small human trial of vedolizumab is already underway.