Mortimer Market Centre

 

Research & River Trial

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Research & River Trial

HIV research is still important 30 years after the first reported cases of HIV/AIDS. Without research, we wouldn’t have effective antiretroviral combination therapies which have transformed HIV into a chronic manageable condition.

However, we have been far less successful in preventing infection. Many individuals do not know that they are infected and continue to spread the virus by sexual contact, needle sharing, or mother-to-child transmission. Moreover, there is still no effective preventative HIV vaccine, nor is a cure for those already infected on the immediate horizon.

However, the Bloomsbury Clinic is one of the participating centres for the  RIVER STUDY –  a study trying to understand how to achieve a functional cure of HIV by using the ‘kick and kill’approach to reduce the size of the HIV reservoir.

Vorinostat, a HDAC inhibitor, is the “kick” and the boosted immune response is the “kill”.

There are four steps in this approach:

  • ART is used to make sure HIV is undetectable
  • Two vaccines are then used to train the immune system to recognise cells  that will be activated
  • Vorinostat  is used to wake and activate the sleeping HIV containing cells
  • The immune system, boosted by the vaccines, attacks and kills the newly activated cells

The aim of this approach and the RIVER study is to reduce the size of this HIV reservoir. Ultimately, this might mean that people could stop their ART and still remain undetectable

There has been such interest in the study that it has now recruited all the participants it required. Recruitment stopped for Cohort 1 (newly diagnosed sero-converters) in January 2017 and stopped for Cohort 2 (patients who were diagnosed previously as sero-converters and were started on treatment early) in May 2017.

The initial results will hopefully be published sometime in 2018

THE RIVER STUDY is just one of approximately 35 ongoing research studies being carried out at any one time in the Bloomsbury Clinic. Research ranges from observational studies (questionnaires about lifestyle or behaviour); drug trials for patients who have so far not taken any medication; and also switch trials where new drugs are being compared to make sure they are non-inferior to established medications.

There are also trials looking at ageing in HIV (POPPY STUDY); women on ART (BESTT), HIV menopausal women (PRIME); PrEP using standard Truvada or F/TAF preparation.  All these trial rely on patient interest and participation and there are different reasons for getting involved.

Many patients want to contribute to medical science, thereby helping the community. Others because they have access to a new drug/therapy or interventions that would not otherwise be available.

ALL PATIENTS WHO TAKE PART IN TRIALS ARE CONTRIBUTING TO THE FUTURE.                 

TO GET INVOLVED      www.mmc-research.cnwl.nhs.net.

RIVER Trial                www.ctu.mrc.ac.uk/our_research/research_areas/hiv/studies/river/

RIVER STUDY VIDEO   https://vimeo.com/181012372/cf8a1d19f6

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