Novel Targeted Therapy May Eliminate HIV

Alpha therapy shows promise in selectively killing infected cells from the central nervous system.

A targeted therapy may hold the key to wiping out HIV reservoirs within infected individuals.

A team of researchers in a recent study showed that targeted alpha therapy has the potential to kill cells infected with HIV from the central nervous system.

The study found that a specific human antibody labeled with alpha emitter bismuth-213 can infiltrate the blood brain barrier to selectively eliminate infected cells without harming non-infected healthy cells.

The results of the study may lead to new treatment options for neurocognitive disorders linked to HIV. A team of research organizations, including Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York and the European Commission Joint Research Centre (JRC), found this experimental alpha emitter radioactive drug can selectively attach to infected cells within the central nervous system.

This treatment approach is allowed by the high energy of alpha radiation and the short path length in human tissue, according to the study. Despite the impact of antiretroviral drugs that allow patients with HIV to have much longer lifespans, the disease still persists within reservoirs in the body.

Treating infections in the central nervous system remains a significant challenge due to the blood brain barrier that inhibits HIV drugs from reaching effective levels in the brain.

Additionally, nearly half of patients infected with HIV are afflicted with mild-to-moderate neurological disorders.