Interferon Alpha 2b Intensification in HIV-Positive Individuals on Antiretroviral Therapy
- Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been able to improve the lifespan of individuals infected with human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), but ART requires continuous treatment that has substantial consequences on quality of life. ART suppresses HIV-1 virus levels below the limits of detection in current tests, but does not completely eradicate the virus from the blood. Recent research is attempting to determine whether this persistent infection stems from a low-level infection where new cells are continually infected with HIV, or from cells that live for a long time after infection. ART is very active against the virus in new cells, but has no effect on long-lived cells that are already infected with HIV-1 at the start of ART. As a result, new strategies may be necessary to reduce or eradicate these 'reservoir' cells.
- Interferon is a natural substance made by the body to combat virus infections, but can also be made as an injectable drug known as PEGINTRON. PEGINTRON injections have been approved to treat hepatitis C infection, including in patients with HIV infection. Earlier studies of HIV-infected individuals who were not on any ART showed that interferon reduced the level of HIV in the blood. Researchers are interested in determining whether PEGINTRON therapy will also reduce the residual low levels of HIV in patients who are already taking ART.
- To evaluate the effectiveness of PEGINTRON injections on HIV levels in participants currently undergoing antiretroviral therapy.
- Individuals at least 18 years of age who have been diagnosed with HIV, are currently undergoing antiretroviral therapy, and have maintained HIV virus blood counts that are not detectable by current commercial tests for at least 12 months before the start of the study.
- This study will involve separate screening and treatment processes.
- Participants will be screened with a physical examination and medical history, including blood and urine samples. The screening analysis to determine study eligibility will take several weeks. Participants will have apheresis to provide sufficient numbers of blood cells for evaluation by the study researchers.
- Eligible participants will begin a 4-week course of PEGINTRON injections using the standard dose of PEGINTRON that is approved for treatment of chronic hepatitis C. Participants will have weekly injections and have frequent blood tests to measure HIV virus levels.
- Participants who experience problems in maintaining safe numbers of white blood cells during the study may receive injections of filgrastim to increase their white blood cell count.
- After the 4 weeks of treatment, participants will return for additional blood tests on study days 28, 35, 42, 49, 56, and 84, and Weeks 16, 24, 36, and 48 (i.e., through the end of 1 year after the start of the study).
Drug: Pegylated Interferon Alpha 2b (PEGINTRON)
|Study Design:||Allocation: Non-Randomized
Intervention Model: Single Group Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Treatment
|Official Title:||Effect of Interferon Alpha 2b Intensification on HIV-1 Residual Viremia in Individuals Suppressed on Antiretroviral Therapy|
- This is a non-randomized, single arm pilot study of 10 participants to investigate the effect of interferon alpha on HIV-1 production in HIV-infected individuals with HIV-1 RNA levels of <50 copies/mL. [ Time Frame: week 4 compared to week 0 ]
- Investigate HIV-1 genetic variation in individuals undergoing interferon therapy. [ Time Frame: week 4 of therapy ]
- Investigate the safety and tolerability of PEG INF 2b in HIV-1 infected individuals taking FDA-approved antiretrovirals in combinations recommended by Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) guidelines. [ Time Frame: week four of therapy ]
|Study Start Date:||January 2011|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||January 2020|
|Estimated Primary Completion Date:||August 2017 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Drug: Pegylated Interferon Alpha 2b (PEGINTRON)
pegylated preparation of interferon alpha 2b
As a result of combination antiretroviral therapy (ART), morbidity and mortality from acquired immunodeficiency syndrome has declined significantly in the past 15 years, at least in developed countries. Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infected individuals now live longer, but must undergo continuous therapy that has substantial consequences on quality of life.
ART suppresses HIV-1 viremia below the limits of detection in current commercial assays (c. 50 copies/mL plasma)., but HIV viremia persists even after prolonged suppressive therapy. The origin of this residual viremia is yet not clear, but data suggest that production from long lived HIV infected cells may contribute to viremia.
Antiretrovirals are extremely active against replicating cells, and can thus successfully stop viral replication, but have no effect on long-lived viral reservoirs of cells already infected with HIV-1 at the time antiretroviral therapy is initiated. As a result, new strategies are necessary to reduce or eradicate long-lived reservoirs.
Interferon alpha is a natural cytokine with antiviral activity. Prior to the introduction of antiretroviral therapy, several studies demonstrated modest effect of interferon alpha in HIV-1 viremia in active cycles of infection in infected individuals. Interferon alpha was also effective in vitro in decreasing virus production from cells chronically infected with HIV-1. With the introduction of potent antiretroviral therapy, interferon was not developed as a direct anti-HIV drug. Interferon alpha is relatively effective in therapy of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, and has been used in HIV-1/HCV coinfected individuals. Kottilil and coworkers in the Laboratory of Immunoregulation NIAID have shown a decrease in HIV-1 RNA levels in HCV coinfected participants treated with pegylated interferon alpha and ribavirin. In stored samples from that study, we conducted a retrospective trial on samples from participants with HIV-1 RNA levels of <50 copies/mL, showing a further reduction in residual viremia using an ultrasensitive Single Copy Assay (SCA) developed in our laboratory. As such the effects of interferon on HIV viremia and cell associated HIV RNA are of growing interest.
In this protocol we will conduct a prospective, non-randomized, single arm, pilot study to investigate the effect of pegylated interferon alpha 2b on HIV-1 RNA levels as an additional drug in participants undergoing suppressive antiretroviral therapy with viral RNA levels suppressed to less than 50 copies/mL plasma. As patients may have levels of HIV RNA that are lower than our limit of detection, we will also investigate levels of HIV nucleic acid species in cells as well. We will determine whether interferon alpha therapy will reduce residual viremia or cell associated HIV RNA in participants on suppressive ART, which will expand our understanding of persistent low-level viremia and the pathogenesis of HIV in infected individuals.
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01295515
|United States, Maryland|
|National Institutes of Health Clinical Center, 9000 Rockville Pike|
|Bethesda, Maryland, United States, 20892|
|United States, Pennsylvania|
|University of Pittsburgh|
|Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States, 15261|
|Principal Investigator:||Frank Maldarelli, M.D.||National Cancer Institute (NCI)|