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boiMAG Brian Boyle
WORLD AIDS DAY
Name of the show: Beneficiaries:
“STRUT” Project Vida and
Years in Existence: South Side Help Center
This is the 11th year Both organizations have been
anniversary serving the community for
Date of Event" over 20 years.
December 1st, 2019
155 W Kinzie
Produced by: Cover Model:
MadMan Productions Alex Mara
Doors: 4:30pm Studio Meiling Productions
Reception: 5pm Model Stylist:
Showtime: 6pm John Fleming, Jr.
Designers & Models:
The School at the
Art Institute of Chicago
General admission: $27
First & Second rows: $37
Table (for four): $40
Michael Scanlon Brian Boyle
Is there a cure for HIV AIDS
on the horizon?
A Maryland medical
application to the
U.S Food and Drug
Administration for a
gene therapy it says
they believe they may
have a potential cure
for HIV/AIDS, which
could help people
living with the disease.
American Gene Technologies in “We need to move these people
Rockville said based on lab tests, from anti-retroviral control to
the single dose gene therapy has permanent immunity and we think
a “high potential” to be effective. this project may be able to do that,”
The company American Gene AGT CEO Jeff Galvin said.
Technologies (AGT) filed a drug An estimated 1.1-million people
application with the Federal Drug in the United States are living with
Administration, said the therapy, HIV and AIDS.
AGT103-T, is a genetically The company expects to hear
modified product made from a from the FDA before the end of
person’s own cells that focuses the year and if their application
on repairing damage to the is approved, clinical trials could
immune system caused by HIV. begin as soon as January.
The single dose drug has a simple The U.S. Department of Health
purpose, to eradicate HIV once and Human Services says 1.1
and for all. “Our aim is to treat HIV million people in the U.S. have
disease with an innovative cell and HIV.
gene therapy that reconstitutes However it could still be several
immunity to HIV and will control years before the drug actually
virus growth in the absence gets final approval and goes to
of antiretroviral drugs,” the market.
company’s chief science officer
C. David Pauza said. boiMAG 23
Why Maryland is Leading the race?
For those that lived through the estimated to be receiving antiretroviral
devastation and terror of the HIV/AIDS treatment globally. While one of the
epidemic of the early 1980s, effective greatest achievements in medical history,
treatment, let alone a cure for Human HAART and subsequent treatment forms
Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), seemed do not cure HIV. Within just weeks of
unrealistic. stopping treatment, the virus returns to full
Some three decades later, a host of strength and chronic inflammation caused
Maryland life science companies and by suppressed HIV can lead to adverse
research organizations are getting closer health effects over the long term. Current
to making what was once unthinkable, a HIV treatments control it but do not cure
reality. it; in fact, research shows that those being
So little was known about this devastating treated for HIV are more susceptible to
immune disorder in the early phases of the other diseases and health risks at an earlier
HIV/AIDS epidemic. age.
In the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis, the
BioHealth Capital Region was the epicenter Despite the amazing advancements in
of HIV/AIDS research, with much of this HIV/AIDS treatments, HIV/AIDS continues to
groundbreaking research occurring within be a major global health threat.
the lab of the now famed NIH researcher,
Dr. Robert Gallo. In 1983 and 1984 Gallo omThrigesassineoiMnzatatorioyclnuasrneadrHeliIfVoenscaience
and his collaborators co-discovered and
confirmed that the virus responsible for the Multiple Maryland companies and research
killer disease known as AIDS was human T institutions are on the leading-age of HIV
lymphotropic virus type III (HTLV-III). Gallo research and development, making the state
and the company went on to develop the a hotbed of potential next-generation HIV
first test that identified the virus in humans, therapies and, possibly, the source of a cure for
the HIV-antibody blood test. this devastating global health issue. Some of
By 1983 the disease had started to spread the most promising cure candidates are coming
globally. By 1999, approximately 33 million out of Maryland’s thriving cell and gene therapy
people across the globe were living with cluster.
HIV and an estimated 14,000,000 million
people had died from AIDS since the Let’s take a look at some of the amazing
epidemic began. progress that’s happening right now across
The 1995 approval of Highly Active Maryland and take a deeper dive into five
Antiretroviral Treatment (HAART), of the leading organizations that are on a
which was the result of the remarkable, mission to develop the first HIV cure.
collaborative efforts of the scientific American Gene Technologies (AGT),
community, led to the reduction of AIDS- Rockville, Maryland
related deaths and hospitalizations by AGT is a gene and cell therapy company
60-80%. A short time later what was once a with a proprietary gene-delivery platform
three-drug cocktail had been transformed to rapidly develop gene and cell therapies
into a pill taken once daily by HIV sufferers. to cure infectious diseases, cancers and
As of 2017, 19.5 million people are monogenic disorders.
One of its lead gene therapy products is a
28 boiMAG potential functional cure for HIV. AGT just
announced that it has submitted the IND to
(Continued on a following page >>)
(Maryland Continued ) ....the FDA for a Phase I Lentigen, Gaithersburg, Maryland
trial of its autologous cell therapy for HIV. Lentigen is a leading provider of custom
AGT is currently developing a highly lentiviral vectors used in cell and gene
innovative HIV treatment strategy that therapy research and development. For HIV,
uses the tools of genetic medicine for Lentigen is at the forefront of efforts to use
immunotherapy to potentially create a Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CAR) T-Cell
functional cure for HIV. therapy to improve the treatment of HIV
“If we are successful, patients will be able and possibly cure it.
to throw away their medication, will not Lentigen, along with researchers at the
progress to AIDS, and will be immune to University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania
future HIV exposures.” and the Albert Einstein School of Medicine,
Jeff Galvin, CEO AGT has been conducting a promising study
The potential single dose treatment would of the use of CAR T in the treatment of
be delivered as a genetically-modified cell HIV. The researchers developed duoCAR
product made from a patient’s own cells. T cells that were able to kill white blood
AGT’s strategy is unique because it focuses cells infected with a range of HIV variants.
on the key immune cells responsible for Testing in mice also produced promising
catalyzing strong immunity against a virus. results. Mice with humanized immune
AGT’s treatment strategy seeks to protect systems were simultaneously injected with
these cells; one of the first cell subsets to CAR T cell and HIV-infected human cells
be disabled by HIV. This subset of cells is into their spleens. When the spleens were
understood to be critical to building an examined a week later, five of the six mice
immune response to any virus. If achieved, had no identifiable HIV DNA and their viral
the cell’s natural process of immunity is levels had decreased by 97.5% (source:
restored and any future rise of HIV in the Science).
body will be attacked by an individual’s Institute for Bioscience &
own immune system. Biotechnology Research (IBBR),
The Institute of Human Virology (IHV), College Park, Maryland
University of Maryland, Baltimore IBBR is a joint research enterprise of the
IHV is part of the University of Maryland University of Maryland, College Park and
School of Medicine and is a recognized the National Institute of Standards and
leader in the virology field. IHV was Technology (NIST). Last year IBBR received
founded by Dr. Robert C. Gallo who co- $3.9M from the National Institutes of
discovered HIV and developed the first HIV Health (NIH) to “…develop a multi-specific,
blood test. single-agent antibody therapeutic against
This potential HIV/AIDS treatment seeks HIV-1 to block virus infection and to clear
to neutralize the different strains of HIV the reservoir of HIV-infected cells from the
found across the globe from the moment body,” according to an IBBR press release
of infection. IHV’s HIV/AIDS research is …” from November 2018.
focused on the CCR5 chemokine receptor Dr. Li and his group have produced bi and tri-
that plays a crucial role in HIV-1 infection specific antibodies that demonstrated neu-
and as such offers an important potential tralization of 95% of circulating HIV-1 viruses.
therapeutic target.” (IHV Website). IHV is The team is now working to optimize their
striving to develop biological HIV/AIDS multivalent antibody constructs to “ recog-
treatments that are less expensive, have nize Env proteins on the surface of latently in-
fewer adverse impacts and are more fected host cells, and to signal other immune
accessible to patients around the globe. system components to destroy those cells
that contain the hard-to-reach viral pockets,
or as the team calls them, a “viral reservoir.”