Clinical tests have produced the first encouraging results in gene therapy treatment against HIV.
A recent research by the University of California has demonstrated the effectiveness of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) against HIV infection.
Although there are no important side effects on patients, the daily treatment may provoke unpleasant effects and the HIV virus is rapidly resisting to these drugs.
A therapy using stem cells has recently developed and has been tested on two groups of patients to note their reaction. These stem cells are modified and carried by the blood system to stop the reproduction of HIV.
Unfortunately no difference was found with the group being treated with the therapy and the second group that had been given a dummy treatment, although the first group did have increased levels of CD4+ cells that are destroyed by the HIV virus.
The gene therapy has the advantage of needing to be administered only during certain periods and not daily as most HIV drugs. Although it is still not as effective as antiretroviral therapy it does reduce viral proliferation when anti-HIV drugs are no longer taken.
The aim of this research is to eliminate the drug intake, thus avoiding unpleasant side effects on HIV infected patients. Although the research is at an early stage the results are promising and further research is needed to try and overcome the HIV becoming resistance to the treatment.