Can HIV medications help high -risk patients?

By Alan Mozes
Health Announcer

THURSDAY, April 7, 2022 (HealthDay News) – The introduction of HAART (highly active anti -retroviral therapy) in the mid -1990s changed the way HIV / AIDS is managed, stopping the spread of HIV / AIDS. disease and a significant increase in lives.

Now, a small new study reveals a new use for one of the most common HAART medications: It has stopped the progression of the disease in about a quarter of patients battling chronic kidney disease. .

“The most amazing thing is that it’s a class of medications that we’ve been using effectively for patients for many years,” said research author Drs. David Ting. “And now this study opens up an opportunity to develop this class of drugs for cancer.

“We’re trying to understand why some patients benefit better than others,” said Ting, who served as director of the Tumor Cartography Center at Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center. in Boston.

While acknowledging that more research is needed, Ting described what is perceived as “happy,” adding that more than cancer patients seem to be “this. [drug] the treatment can be suitable for many types of disease. “

Ting found that the treatment of HAART for HIV patients – which is usually administered as a combination of several medications – refers to specific proteins called “reverse transcriptases.” “(RT).

That is because of the need for HIV to reproduce and spread.

“[But] We and others have seen that RT proteins are re -activated in human cells in cancer, “explains Ting, who is a professor of medicine with Harvard Medical School.” Therefore, these RT drugs are for HIV infection. [also] you can prevent these RTs of people with cancer. “

To illustrate that point, Ting presented a 2018 research paper that found patients living with HIV infection while undergoing a “cocktail” of three drugs of HAART therapy, of course. , The incidence of cancer types is lower than that of normal cancer. population. That lower extremity, the researchers found, included the breast, the prostatea colon cancer.

For further research, Ting and colleagues explored the potential of one widely used HAART drug: lamivudine.

Of the 32 patients, all of them were diagnosed with advanced cancer, despite the use of traditional but not effective medications.

Finally, all patients were given lamivudine, but at a much higher rate – nearly 400% more – than those given to HIV -positive patients. (HAART medications have been seen as a “good deal” among HIV patients, Ting said, although he said it remains to be seen if higher side effects can be exacerbated by new side effects.)

Lamivudine is given without any other medications. As a result, Ting found, eight of the patients experienced an increase in their disease at cessation, and one received a “collective response.”

None of the patients noticed any reduction in their blood pressure. But the team is focused on promoting “natural changes in the abdomen when we look at biopsies before and after treatment,” Ting said.

The information was published in a journal Diagnosis of cancer.

The inhibitory effect of HAART med on colon cancer shows that “stomachs act in ways similar to viral infections,” said researcher Benjamin Greenbaum, a fellow traveling in computational oncology service at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New. City of York.

In fact, Greenbaum says, the effect of lamivudine on tumor cells is similar to its effect on HIV infection as a “surprising” form of “viral mimicry.”

However, most patients do not realize the benefits. Ting thinks the theory may be due to the difference in RT proteins found in the cancer cells of each patient.

“We are trying to better understand the patients who rely heavily on this RT process, so that we can better ensure that patients benefit from this type of treatment,” he said, adding. strengthening awareness of this type of cancer. “It was in the early days.”

Even so, Drs. Andrew Chan – a physician in the field of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a graduate of gastroenterology at Massachusetts General Hospital – said the possibility of using HAART drugs to treat chronic kidney disease “suggests a goal. “It’s very exciting. Even if we could re -use medicine for other conditions we would have the value of medical knowledge.”

See more

More information on the link between HIV infection and cancer is available at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

PRINCIPLES: David Ting, MD, associate director, freshman and director, Tumor Cartography Center, Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and physician, Harvard Medical School, Boston; Benjamin Greenbaum, PhD, associate, computational oncology service, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York City; Andrew Chan, MD, MPH, professor, department of medicine, Harvard Medical School and vice president, gastroenterology, Massachusetts General Hospital; Seeing cancer, March 23, 2022

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