Antiretroviral therapy effectively suppresses HIV infection. But when antiretroviral therapy is discontinued, the infection quickly rebounds: Latent (non-replicating) HIV—lurking within host cells and invisible to the immune system and to pharmacologic attack—resume replicating. A functional cure for HIV will require the development of new strategies to nip resurgent infection in the bud.
Harris Goldstein, M.D., and Steven C. Almo, Ph.D., have received a five-year, $4.2 million National Institutes of Health grant to develop and evaluate new strategies to boost HIV-specific immune responses to prevent the resurgence of HIV infection. They will determine the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of two different approaches: 1) use of genetic engineering to convert highly cytotoxic cytomegalovirus (CMV)-specific CD8 T cells into HIV-specific CAR-T cells; and 2) design of novel infusible immunostimulatory biologics capable of both markedly increasing the CMV-specific CD8 T cell population and redirecting them to target HIV-infected cells. These unique strategies may functionally cure HIV infection by providing and amplifying crucial T cell reinforcements needed to prevent the resurgence of HIV infection after cessation of antiretroviral therapy.
Dr. Goldstein is director of the Einstein-Rockefeller-CUNY Center for AIDS Research, professor of pediatrics and of microbiology & immunology, the Charles Michael Chair in Autoimmune Diseases, and associate dean for scientific resources at Einstein and an allergy & immunology physician at Montefiore Health System. Dr. Almo is professor and chair of biochemistry, the Wollowick Family Foundation Chair in Multiple Sclerosis and Immunology, and director of the Macromolecular Therapeutics Developmental Facility at Einstein. (1R01AI172607-01)
Posted on: Wednesday, August 31, 2022