CLL Support Association
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Cancer drug promises to break down barrier to HIV cure (T-cells and antiretroviral treatments)

Cancer drug promises to break down barrier to HIV cure (T-cells and antiretroviral treatments)

There are offshoots from HIV research that can help CLL research. HIV is so difficult to cure because "While antiretroviral treatment successfully suppresses HIV replication in an infected person, it can’t completely remove the virus. This is due to the virus' ability to integrate itself into the DNA of cells, where it can lie dormant and invisible to the body’s immune system for years." Both CLL and HIV inhibit our T-cells, lowering our immunity - so we share some of the health problems of HIV patients because of the overlapping impact of the two diseases on our immune system. With CLL, we are at risk of the reactivation of viruses from previous infections that our bodies can't eliminate; they lie dormant until our immunity is at a low point - either from the immune suppression by our CLL or by treatment for our CLL.

The risks to us from the herpes family of viruses, Herpes zoster (shingles), Herpes simplex, Cytomegalovirus, Epstein-barr virus, Human herpes virus 8/HHV8 (the cause of Kaposi’s sarcoma in immunodeficient individuals), Human herpes virus 6/HHV6 (a possible initiating agent in both chronic fatigue syndrome and multiple sclerosis) are covered in this paper: The immunodeficiency of CLL by AD Hamblin and T J Hamblin (2008)

Perhaps extensions of the research into this HIV cancer drug may eventually provide the means by which we can eliminate these dormant viruses from our bodies and thereby avoid the associated risk of living with them (no shingles risk!) and having to take antivirals for lengthy periods, but maybe a cure for CLL will arrive first!


Photo: Red capped robin (again thanks to Jay for the ID)

1 Reply

Great positive attitude and article Neil!



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