Dr. Michael Har-Noy, founder of the Israeli biotechnology company Immunovative Therapies, Ltd., indicates that HIV infection results in significant loss of the production of interferon. Gamma interferon is a cytokine that is produced primarily from Th1 helper cells. Gamma interferon is crucial for the suppression of viral replication. Dr. Michael Har-Noy says that in cancer patients he has previously treated, intravenous infusion of AlloStimTM as produced a sustained state of inflammation – a “cytokine storm” – consisting of, in large part, secretion of copious amounts of serum gamma interferon. Therefore, says Dr. Michael Har-Noy, AlloStimTM infusion in HIV-infected patients could potentially restore their ability to produce and sustain adequate plasma concentrations of gamma interferon, thereby enhancing their immunity to infection and augmenting their ability to suppress the HIV virus.
C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) appears to function as the primary macrophage receptor for the HIV virus. Dr. Michael Har-Noy says that interleukin-12 (IL-12) has been shown to significantly down-modulate the expression of CCR5 on the macrophage surface. He adds that in the past, intravenous AlloStimTM infusion has resulted in a dramatic decrease in the expression of the CCR5 receptor. Dr. Michael Har-Noy points out that in a previous patient (the “Berlin patient”), transplantation of donor immune cells that genetically lacked CCR5 receptors resulted in long-term HIV remission. Dr. Michael Har-Noy hypothesizes that, since congenital lack of CCR5 receptors is rare, AlloStimTM infusion may be a viable alternative method of reducing CCR5 and therefore improving HIV resistance.
The allogeneic bone marrow transplant of CCR5 mutant immune cells into a HIV-infected patient resulted in long term remission from the HIV virus. However, points out Dr. Michael Har-Noy, this treatment still required powerful pre-transplant chemotherapy and also carried a significant risk of deadly graft-versus-host disease (GVHD). The immunologic phenomenon called “Mirror EffectTM” created by AlloStimTM infusion simulates the anti-tumor effects of al allogeneic bone marrow transplant without the potential for GVHD toxicity. Dr. Michael Har-Noy thinks that this “Mirror EffectTM” may provide powerful anti-viral immunity in HIV patients without the risk of GVHD and without the need for a rare donor lacking the CCR5 receptor.
Dr. Michael Har-Noy is currently running a preliminary Phase I/II study of AlloStimTM in HIV-infected patients. For more information, please visit www.immunocare.net