The Univeristy of Melbourne The Royal Melbourne Hopspital

A joint venture between The University of Melbourne and The Royal Melbourne Hospital


02 Feb 2016

Professor Sharon Lewin launches HIV Cure website

Written by Professor Sharon Lewin, Doherty Institute Director and member of the executive of the HIV cure Community Partnership.

Recent breakthroughs in the world of AIDS research have injected a growing confidence that a cure for HIV, or finding a way for long-term remission with antiretroviral  treatment (ART), might be achievable. Such a prospect would have been unthinkable 30 years ago.

The Berlin Patient, the Mississippi Baby, the VISCONTI Patients and the Boston Patients have all emerged as intriguing pieces in the HIV cure jigsaw puzzle over the past few years.

Each of these people living with HIV has been able to safely stop ART for varying amounts of time with the virus  staying under control. Researchers are endeavouring to learn from these cases and understand the scientific insights. 

Within laboratories across the globe, discoveries are being made that are advancing cure science every day. Even the setbacks are acting as an opportunity to cast aside what doesn’t work and to concentrate on what could work. In our endeavour to find a cure, we will be pursuing many different approaches including gene -editing, reservoir-limiting, reservoir-depleting, cell-enhancing and immune-enhancing techniques.

Developed by NAPWHA in association with the Doherty Institute and the Alfred Hospital, HIV Cure will collate all the latest research news and scientific developments as they happen so that people living with HIV in Australia can be educated, engaged and gain access to the successes being made.

There are challenges ahead, but they are not insurmountable. The science is no doubt complex and the task is too intricate for one laboratory, one company or one country. To ultimately deliver a cure we will need substantial investment in science but also we need new international alliances between community, government, the private sector and academia.

There are now multiple national and international collaborative networks aimed at finding a cure for HIV and many Australian researchers are part of these exciting initiatives. One of the best known is a US-funded American-Canadian-Australian $30-million enterprise to accelerate the search for an effective cure.

This collaboration will allow us to work with the best people, bring the latest clinical trials to Australia and use the best technologies to build on the enormous scientific progress that has been gleaned over the last few years. Much more progress will be made; HIV Cure is the place to keep up with the incredible achievements ahead.