Researchers from the University of Minnesota’s Program in HIV Medicine have been awarded a $5.7 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to test a new way to combat the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
The grant will support clinical trials testing whether the FDA-approved drug losartan will reverse inflammatory damage caused by HIV and restore the population of immune cells (CD4 cells) that are essential for normal immune responses.
“Current therapy for HIV does not cure the infection, and patients still have early mortality, from conditions like cancer and other conditions associated with decreased immunity,” explains Timothy Schacker, M.D., professor of medicine and director of the Program in HIV Medicine. “Our goal is to identify ways to heal the tissues damaged by HIV replication so the antiretroviral therapy can have a better chance of eliminating reservoirs of infection throughout the lymphatic system.”
The new approach could also help protect HIV-infected people from complications associated with ongoing inflammation like heart attacks, blood clots, and cancer.