Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

HIV Patients Get Long-Term Boost With Short, Intermittent Drug Regimen

Date:
April 30, 2004
Source:
NIH/National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases
Summary:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists report that brief, widely-spaced courses of the experimental immune-boosting drug interleukin-2 (IL-2) allow people with HIV to maintain near normal levels of a key immune system cell for long periods.

National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists report that brief, widely-spaced courses of the experimental immune-boosting drug interleukin-2 (IL-2) allow people with HIV to maintain near normal levels of a key immune system cell for long periods. The researchers, from NIH's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the Warren G. Magnuson Clinical Center, describe their findings in the May 1 issue of the journal Blood.

"These data provide strong evidence that IL-2 therapy, which can be self-administered by patients, could be an important adjunct to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART)," says NIAID Deputy Director John R. La Montagne, Ph.D.

The new report summarizes the experience of 77 HIV-positive individuals who enrolled in extension phases of three long-running AIDS clinical trials. Participants were taught to inject themselves subcutaneously with IL-2 twice daily in 5-day-long cycles. Cycles were initiated as often as necessary to maintain levels of immune cells called CD4+ T cells at predetermined, individually tailored amounts. HIV infection causes progressive loss of CD4+ T cells. Without enough of these "helper" immune cells, people with HIV disease have a hard time fending off infections. IL-2 can boost CD4+ T cell levels, with the goal of improving overall immune health.

Because HIV infection causes progressive immune destruction, it stands to reason that immune-stimulation therapy, such as IL-2, might play a substantial role in treating patients with this condition, notes Richard Davey, Jr., M.D., an NIAID AIDS clinician who headed the studies reported in Blood. Indeed, during the early 1980s NIH physicians pioneered the use of long courses of IL-2 to treat individuals whose immune systems had mysteriously failed. Scientists now know those people were suffering from AIDS, but at the time the virus causing AIDS had yet to be identified.

Although NIH physicians have accumulated over 20 years of experience with IL-2 therapy, the most impressive results began to appear in the early 1990s when the doctors started treating patients with short, intermittent cycles of the drug, Dr. Davey says. Today, HIV patients receiving IL-2 therapy typically begin with 5-day-long cycles every other month while taking drugs, such as HAART, on a sustained basis. According to Dr. Davey, this regimen often raises an HIV patient's CD4+ T cell levels well into the normal range after only a few cycles. The new research suggests IL-2 therapy can then be administered much less frequently without loss of benefit.

Most studies to date have looked at IL-2 therapy only over relatively short periods, says Dr. Davey. In contrast, the average length of patient follow-up described in the current paper is about six years. Patients in these trials have received an average of 10 IL-2 cycles during the course of their involvement, with most of the cycles occurring in the initial years of participation. Of the original 77 volunteers, 61 achieved and maintained normal or nearly normal levels of CD4+ T cells for periods ranging from two to 91 months between IL-2 cycles. During the most recent period of study, the average time between cycles was more than 3 years. (Of the 16 people no longer participating, one died, one developed non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, eight elected to follow other treatment plans and six experienced CD4 cell count declines that did not respond to IL-2 therapy.)

"Patients described in this study are still being followed," says Dr. Davey. "There are also trials planned or underway to learn if IL-2 therapy could delay or obviate the need for continuous HAART, thereby sparing persons with HIV disease from the serious side-effects that HAART can cause. The early experience from some small preliminary studies in this area suggests that this may indeed be a possibility, although larger trials are clearly needed to explore this fully."

For information about AIDS treatment or to enroll in a clinical study, please contact http://www.AIDSinfo.nih.gov or call: 1-800-HIV-0440 (1-800-448-0440).

NIAID is a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIAID supports basic and applied research to prevent, diagnose and treat infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections, influenza, tuberculosis, malaria and illness from potential agents of bioterrorism. NIAID also supports research on transplantation and immune-related illnesses, including autoimmune disorders, asthma and allergies. Press releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov.

Reference: CE Farel et al. Induction and maintenance therapy with intermittent interleukin-2 in HIV-1 infection. Blood 103:3282-86. Published online January 15, 2004.DOI: 10.1182/blood-2003-09-3283.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NIH/National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NIH/National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "HIV Patients Get Long-Term Boost With Short, Intermittent Drug Regimen." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 April 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428062956.htm>.
NIH/National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. (2004, April 30). HIV Patients Get Long-Term Boost With Short, Intermittent Drug Regimen. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428062956.htm
NIH/National Institute Of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. "HIV Patients Get Long-Term Boost With Short, Intermittent Drug Regimen." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/04/040428062956.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

$15B Deal on Vets' Health Care Reached

AP (July 28, 2014) A bipartisan deal to improve veterans health care would authorize at least $15 billion in emergency spending to fix a veterans program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Two Americans Contract Ebola in Liberia

Reuters - US Online Video (July 28, 2014) Two American aid workers in Liberia test positive for Ebola while working to combat the deadliest outbreak of the virus ever. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins