Romidepsin, a lymphoma drug, might help with HIV eradication

Latent HIV virus does not replicate and is therefore not killed by antiretroviral drugs. Such persistent latent infection is a major obstacle to curing HIV infection. New results by Tomas Cihlar, from Gilead Sciences, Foster City, USA, and colleagues suggest that romidepsin, a drug approved for treating lymphoma, can reactivate latent HIV in patients on antiretroviral therapy. The researchers found that romidepsin was a more potent activator of HIV than two similar drugs currently under clinical investigation.

Reactivation is the first step—the kick–of the so-called kick-and-kill strategy for HIV eradication, and romidepsin looks like a promising candidate drug to fulfil this function. The researchers conclude that romidepsin is a more potent and robust inducer of HIV expression in latently infected cells compared with other related drugs in clinical testing, and that clinical testing of romidepsin in virally suppressed HIV patients is warranted.


Wei DG, Chiang V, Fyne E, Balakrishnan M, Barnes T, et al. (2014) Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Romidepsin Induces HIV Expression in CD4 T Cells from Patients on Suppressive Antiretroviral Therapy at Concentrations Achieved by Clinical Dosing. PLoS Pathog 10(4): e1004071. doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1004071,


PLOS Pathogens


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