An HIV-free world: a dream or near future?

Worldwide there are 37 million people living with HIV. In our ideal world HIV would not exist anymore, but unfortunately a cure is not yet available. Although we believe that finding a cure is possible in the near future, we cannot do this alone. Therefore, Aidsfonds and Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Health~Holland) have decided to partner up and call on you to help us find the cure. We believe that together we can reach an HIV cure!

The two organisations are facilitating collaborations between companies and research institutions. On the evening of the International AIDS conference AIDS2018 in July, they invited public-private parties, such as biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies, to apply for the Public-private Partnership Call for HIV-Cure. With this call, two million euros was made available for innovative scientific research into cures for HIV.

Accelerating research into a cure for HIV
Two projects have been awarded funding to accelerate their research into a cure for HIV. The first project is entitled: “Towards an HIV-1 cure; detection and elimination of the HIV-1 reservoir” and the second project is entitled: “Induced cell death and/or induced cell killing for HIV cure”. The first project aims to cure HIV by identification and eradication of the HIV-1 reservoir. This is a new technique, because current HIV medicines are not eradicating HIV-1 but rather staying behind in the body in so-called reservoirs. Therefore, the focus of this first project is to identify the HIV-1 reservoir and to develop innovative medical treatments aimed at eradicating the HIV-1 reservoir. It is expected that HIV patients can be cured from HIV if the HIV-1 reservoir is eradicated from the body.

The second project aims to cure HIV with the following technique: eradicating the HIV reservoir by using infected cell death (ICD) or by using infected cell killing (ICK). The unique feature of this project is that it uses an individual approach with a so-called personalised medicine. The researchers from this project want to investigate the different individual response by testing personalised medicines in the laboratory. Although initially it is called a personalised medicine, the goal is to make it a global approach for curing HIV patients.

One step closer
According to Mark Vermeulen, director of Aidsfonds, the question is not whether there will ever be a cure for HIV but when. ‘We know that one day, it will be possible to cure HIV, but the path towards realising this is a difficult one. Financial support for that research is therefore important. Such a cure would literally remove HIV from the lives of 37 million people. A cure means an end to a worldwide epidemic.’ With the two projects awarded funding we are now one step closer to finding a cure for HIV.

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