A few weeks ago, our JVI paper with experimentalists Dr Chris Peterson and Dr Hans-Peter Kiem was published online. The paper uses a set of ordinary differential equations as a mathematical model to study the immune system’s impact on controlling simian HIV (SHIV).
The significance of the work lies in that some of the animals received hematopoietic stem cell transplants in conjunction with SHIV infection. This procedure, curative for bone-marrow cancer, is also a part of the only cure of HIV. The famous Berlin patient received such a transplant for cancer with the added complexity that his donor had a mutation that blocks one of the cellular entry mechanisms of HIV. Years post transplant, he remains off daily HIV medicine, yet is devoid of virus, functionally cured. We show that the mutation is likely necessary to make the cure work, meaning that the transplant alone is not enough for the cure. Moreover, the transplant “resets” the immune system, making viral rebound when medicine is stopped appear similar to the primary infection.
This is my first real HIV paper, and was a fantastic collaboration. Have a look!