• STV
  • MySTV

New cancer drug 'holds hope of cure for HIV patients'

Doctors made the discovery while treating a cancer patient who also had the Aids virus.

Cancer drug could work on HIV patients.
Cancer drug could work on HIV patients. Opdivo

A new cancer drug holds out the hope of a "cure" for HIV patients, research has shown.

Doctors made the discovery while using the immunotherapy drug nivolumab to treat a lung cancer patient with the Aids virus.

They observed a "drastic and persistent" decrease in the number of infected white blood cells shielding the virus from attack by anti-retroviral therapy.

Under normal circumstances, the virus lies hidden and dormant in the cells - ready to re-emerge and carry on spreading if treatment is stopped at any time.

Professor Jean-Philippe Spano, who led the medical team at the Pitie-Salpetriere Hospital AP-HP in Paris, France, said: "Increasingly, researchers have been looking into the use of certain drugs that appear to re-activate the latent HIV-infected cells.

"This could have the effect of making them visible to the immune system, which could then attack them."

After the patient was given nivolumab, doctors saw a dramatic reduction in reservoirs of HIV-infected cells and increased activity from CD8 "killer" T-cells, a key immune system attack weapon.

Prof Spano said: "This is the first demonstration of this mechanism working in humans. It could have implications for HIV patients, both with and without cancer, as it can work on HIV reservoirs and tumour cells independently.

"The absence of side effects in this patient is also good news, and suggests this could be an optimum treatment for HIV-infected patients with cancer."

The results are published in the journal Annals of Oncology, whose editor-in-chief Professor Fabrice Andre - from the Institut Gustave Roussy in Villejuif, France, said: "Although this is a single case study, it is an exciting result.

"Anti-HIV drugs usually stop virus replication but don't cure the patients who still have reservoirs of the virus. This study generates the hypothesis that drugs that make the virus disappear could, perhaps, cure patients."

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check. That e-mail's already in our system. Please try again.
ShowHide
Forgot password?
This field is required. At least 6 characters please. Did you enter your details correctly?
If you've forgotten your details then use the 'Forgot password?' link.
Need to reset your password?

We'll send a link to reset your password to

We've sent you details on how to reset your password

Please check your email and follow the instructions.

Forgotten your email address?

Have you forgotten the email address that you previously joined with? Don't worry, by emailing enquiries@stv.tv we can help.

One account. All of STV.

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
At least 6 characters please
ShowHide
This field is required. At least 6 characters please.
You have to be 16 or over to join
This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date
Type your full postcode and select your address This field is required. It doesn't look like you've entered a valid postcode. Can't find your address? Confirm the details you've given us are correct by clicking here

By continuing you agree to our Terms of Use, including our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy. Any issues contact us.

Upload Profile Picture

Please make sure your image is under 2mb in size and a valid JPG, PNG or GIF.

Are you sure?

Unfortunately, you'll be unable to access our premium content. We’ll be sorry to see you go, but if you change your mind you can rejoin us at any time.

Please verify your STV account

Please verify your STV account using the email we sent you. If you have lost the email, we can send you another one, just click the button below.

Thanks

We've sent you a new verification email.
Please check your email and follow the instructions to verify your account.

Welcome to STV
Thanks for joining us.

Oops!

Sorry, you must be at least 12 years old to place a vote for your Real Hero.

Please review our Voting Terms of Use for more information.

Oops!

Sorry! It seems that you are using a browser that is incompatible with our voting service.

To register your vote please copy the below URL in to your regular mobile browser. We recommend Google Chrome, or Safari.

http://shows.stv.tv/real-heroes/voting

Oops!

Sorry, you seem to have already voted in this category.

Thanks for voting

Now share your vote with friends on your social network

Share on twitter Share on facebook

Cast your vote

Please register or sign in to continue.

Cast your vote

This field is required. This doesn't appear to be a valid date

Cast your vote

Please fill out this form to cast your vote. As you are under 16 years old you will not create an STV account. Why do we need these details?

This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. Please enter at least 2 characters
This field is required. That doesn't look like a valid e-mail format, please check.
Location This field is required.
Parental Consent This field is required.

That's you. All that's left is to click the 'Submit Vote' button below. By doing so, you confirm that you and your parent or guardian have read and accept our Voting Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Cookie policy, and that the details you have entered are correct. We'll look after them as carefully as if they were our own.