Global health R&D at work in Minnesota
Researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School are working to unlock why antiretroviral therapies are unable to completely shut down HIV production in cells in certain parts of the body. According to their research, nearly 99 percent of these HIV-infected cells are found in tissue in the lymph nodes, spleen, and gastrointestinal tract. This reservoir of latently infected cells can reactivate if therapy is interrupted, posing a major challenge to curing the disease. Their key finding was that these cells are associated with lower concentrations of drugs in these tissues. A next step is to understand why current treatments do not reach adequate levels in lymphoid tissue. This knowledge could lead to development of more effective treatments for HIV or even a cure for AIDS. Globally, more than 36 million people are living with HIV.