HIV Cure Research: Flush-and-Kill Cancer Drug: SAHA or Vorinostat

Apr 23, 2012
What is SAHA and Vorinostat? is both are different?
Response from Mr. Vergel

SAHA (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid) and Vorinostat are the same thing. Vorinostat was the first histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDAC) approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of cutaneous T celllymphoma on October 6, 2006. It is manufactured by Merck. It is being used in HIV cure research to activate latent (hidden) virus out of reservoirs as part of a “shock-and-kill” approach.
Latent, or “hidden,” infection occurs when HIV’s genes (RNA) gets incorporated into the DNA of a cell. Because many immune system cells remain inactive in the body, they may never get “turned on,” which is necessary for the virus to complete its cycle (e.g. the production of new viruses). The virus essentially goes to sleep at this middle stage, making the infected cell invisible to the immune system. A variety of approaches are being studied to awaken the latent HIV so that the cell can be destroyed and any virus that is produced treated using standard antiretroviral medications. The leading strategy involves the use of drugs called histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors, which essentially work by stopping genes (including HIV’s genes) from shutting down. While it may be possible for HDAC inhibitors to activate HIV and get it out of hiding, there is also a risk of activating other genes that could cause harmful effects in the body, such as certain types of cancer. Here is a great fact sheet to explain the different approaches used in HIV cure research: A Primer on What’s Up With Cure Research
For the latest data on Vorinostat in HIV: Latest Vorinostat data presented at CROI 2012
Most researchers believe that the cure of HIV will require a combination of approaches. Reservoir flushing may be one of them.

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