Update 3 on HIV/N6 Experiment
TL;DR: Started back on conventional medicine (HAART). Putting together a cocktail for the long term suppression (plasmid) and excision (CRISPR?) of HIV. Ascendance researchers are still working together. Going into stealth mode until then.
With Aaron’s passing, a lot of people are wondering about the fate of the HIV gene therapy that was being developed by Ascendance Biomedical, and was first tested by this author. This article will provide some context and outline what the future looks like.
The initial version of the therapy may have protected my immune system (based on the abnormally high CD4 count) but it failed to suppress the virus. This may have been because it was removed by my immune system. The second version will not have bacterial DNA, making it potentially last much longer.
Even still, it is unlikely to be a ‘cure’ for HIV. Suppression is certainly a huge part of the problem, but it does not remove the HIV DNA that hides in cells, waiting to re-infect whenever the suppression ends.
Fortunately there are a couple of promising ways to coax the HIV DNA out of hiding. Nivolumab, a drug being tested for cancer, seems to have done so in one (out of two) HIV+ patients. A different route is also available: using CRISPR to target key parts of HIV DNA, has been tested in rodents with excellent results.
It may be many months before this combination therapy is ready. My health has been excellent, but the pressure to get back onto conventional medicine (HAART) has been felt in every direction. I have started this regimen while looking towards the day that I will stop taking it, perhaps a couple months after the suppression and excision treatments have been applied. Only by stopping taking these pills will I be able to know if these other treatments have worked.
The group of researchers behind Ascendance are still on good terms, and are continuing their work together. For this next stage in development, I am in particular need of help from someone with experience with CRISPR.
Regardless if that is you or someone else, you can reach me at aitheric at protonmail dot com, or you can join us on Telegram.