Researchers have revealed HIV can be flushed out of its hiding places in the body using a cancer drug, according a BBC report.
The treatment, anti-retroviral therapy, kills the virus in the bloodstream but leaves “HIV reservoirs” untouched.
According to a study published in PLoS Pathogens, the drug was “highly potent” at reactivating hidden HIV.
Experts say the findings were interesting, but it was important to know if the drug was safe in patients.
A strategy known as “kick and kill” is said to be key to curing HIV. The kick wakes up the dormant HIV allowing the drugs to kill it.
One of the ingredients in a treatment to prevent cancer in sun-damaged skin – PEP005- has been investigated by the team at the UC Davis School of Medicine.
They tested the drug in cells grown in the laboratory and in parts of the immune system taken from 13 people with HIV.
The report said “PEP005 is highly potent in reactivating latent HIV” and that the chemical represents “a new group of lead compounds for combating HIV”.
However, the drug has still not been tested in people who are HIV-positive.