One of these companies, American Gene Technologies (AGT) have submitted a 1000 page document to the FDA which they believe details a cure for HIV through gene and cell therapy.
The document details a Phase I trial for HIV which involves a single dose treatment delivered as a genetically modified cell from a patient’s cells. The treatment would focus on key immune cells “responsible for catalysing strong immunity against a virus.”
AGT expects its potential cure for HIV to move into clinical trials in the next six months.
In a statement, AGT CEO Jeff Galvin said: “We want to get these people out of jail and back to normal life.
“We see this as critically important. We need to move these people from anti-retroviral control to permanent immunity, and we think our project may be able to do that.”
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has partnered with the National Institue of Health (NIH), which works with another Maryland research organisation, NIAID.
The Gates’ are donating $100 million (which has been matched by the NIH) to develop gene-based cures for HIV. Developments in genetics have advanced over the past 10 years, but the high cost of treatment creates a barrier.
To counter this, the couple and the NIH have made a commitment that cures funded by their investment will be affordable and available to all.
They plan to concentrate “on access, scalability, and affordability … to make sure everybody, everywhere has the opportunity to be cured, not just those in high-income countries,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in a statement. “We aim to go big or go home.”
They aim to have gene-based cures clinical trials in the US and Africa within the next seven to ten years.
While he agrees that this is ambitious, Anthony S Fauci, director of the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, they are confident in their quest.
“[We are] harnessing the most cutting-edge scientific tools and NIH’s sizeable global HIV research infrastructure to one day deliver a cure and end the global HIV pandemic,” he said.
“We are taking into account those with the greatest need at the foundation of this effort, to ensure that, if realised, this exceptional public health achievement will be made accessible to all.”
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