At the 2014 AIDS conference in Melbourne the results from Part A for Bionor Pharma’s REDUC trial was one of the key events and a substantial media coverage followed the presentation of the data.
The trial combines Bionor Pharma’s therapeutic vaccine candidate Vacc-4x with the cancer drug Romidepsin (Celgene Corp) and is conducted in collaboration with Aarhus University Hospital.
Part A of the trial investigated the safety and the effect of chosen dose of Romidepsin.
The trial demonstrated that Romidepsin successfully increased the virus production in HIV-infected cells between 2.1 and 3.9 times above normal and that the viral load in the blood increased to measurable levels in five out of six patients with HIV infection.
The objective of the ongoing part B of the REDUC trial is to investigate whether combination treatment Vacc-4x followed by romidepsin infusion impacts the latent HIV reservoir. Researchers refer to this approach as a “Kick-kill” strategy, where the HDACi is used to “kick” the virus out of reservoirs making the HIV infected cells visible to the immune system. This should allow the immune response generated by Vacc-4x to attack and eliminate the infected cells. Conventional HIV medication, cART is unable to eliminate the virus residing in latently infected cells. Reservoir data is expected in H1 2015 whereas topline results are expected in H2 2015.
The Guardian – HIV discovery reveals virus hidden in immune system cells
BBC News – Exciting drug flushes out HIV
AIDSMAP- How do we progress towards a cure