Vorinostat, a chemotherapeutic drug which inhibits histone deacetylase and is used mainly to treat refractory T-cell lymphomas under the brand name Zolinza, has been found to awaken quiescent cells infected with HIV thus creating an avenue by which the infection may be cured completely.
A single dose of the drug (which is marketed by Merck) was able to reactivate such cells in the study that was conducted in the University of North Carolina, USA.
This study has aroused tremendous interest in the field of HIV/AIDS as current drug regimens only suppress the viral load to undetectable levels; stopping the medication usually leads to a relapse of the disease with the very significant risk of drug resistance.
Merck’s head of research Daria Hazuda doesn’t think that Zolinza itself would be the drug that would be used in this form of aggressive therapy, but rather a prototype that would pave the way for such a drug which may be available in a couple of decades.
This indeed is a major breakthrough and I cannot wait to see the results when it is combined with anti-retroviral therapy.
Read more on this on Bloomberg.com