Miracle HIV Cure? - NECN

Miracle HIV Cure?



    Miracle HIV cure?

    UMass Medical School's Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga was part of the team that helped functionally cure a Miss. baby (Published Friday, Jan. 17, 2014)

    (NECN: Kristen Carosa) - Dr. Katherine Luzuriaga has spent more than 20 years researching the prevention of prediatric HIV infections.

    This week, some of that research got national recognition.

    "Up until this point we believed that all children who were infected with HIV were sentenced to a life of treatment," Dr. Luzuriaga, who is also a professor of pediatrics at UMass Medical School, said.

    At a medical conference, Dr. Luzuriaga and fellow researchers reveiled a case of a baby from Mississippi.

    The child was born HIV-positive and has been functionally cured from the virus.

    "We never thought this was possible," Dr. Luzuriaga said.

    Dr. Luzuriaga says the baby was put on intensive drug therapy 30 hours after birth. Treatment continued for 18 months.

    "What makes this exciting is it was achieved using currently available virals," Dr. Luzuriaga said.

    Scientists from UMass Medical School and John Hopkin's Children's Center in Maryland worked together on this case.

    Luzuriaga says HIV research has been going on for decades at UMass Medical School.

    It was here that a break through drug to prevent the spread of HIV was developed in the 90s.

    "A drug that is a mainstay for prevention of mother to child transmission and also the treatment of women and children, it's called Nevirapine, was discovered right in this lab," Dr. Luzuriaga said.

    Luzuriaga says the outcome of this new case has the potential to be a cure for aids in children in the future.

    "We may one day to be able to reduce the size and extent of the virus reservoirs to the point that we may one day be able to spare children," Dr. Luzuriaga said.