Hunt for AIDS Cure Accelerates As GSK and U.S. Experts Link Up
Monday, May 11, 2015
Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline , which decided last week to retain rather than float off its HIV drugs business, is to collaborate with U.S. scientists in developing a cure for AIDS.
Until recently, many researchers were reluctant to even discuss the possibility of curing the disease caused by HIV, which infects 35 million people worldwide, since the obstacles seemed insurmountable.
But after a 30-year battle to keep HIV at bay with life-time antiretroviral drugs, there is growing optimism that a cure is feasible.
The case of Timothy Brown, the so-called “Berlin patient” whose HIV was eradicated by a complex treatment for leukaemia in 2007, marked the first cure and the science has been advancing since then.
GSK is tapping into the latest expertise by creating an HIV Cure centre with the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and establishing a new jointly owned company.
The drugmaker said on Monday it would invest $20 million to help fund the work for an initial five years.
Scientists will study various cure options, including a so-called “shock-and-kill” strategy developed at UNC, which unmasks dormant HIV hiding in white blood cells, so that it can be attacked by a boosted immune system.
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