To answer these questions, we will examine samples of blood, lymph node tissue, and tissue from the gut that will be collected in seven clinical trials (patient studies) at the University of Minnesota.
The questions we want to answer are at the leading edge of HIV research. Our program of research is unique because we are focused on more than just measuring viral load in the blood. We want to know what the virus is doing in the lymph node and gut. These are the sites where most infection happens.
We believe blood samples alone will not show us what we need to know about why HIV keeps replicating in what we call a “viral reservoir” in spite of antiretroviral treatment. We believe these reservoirs are contained in the tissues of a person’s lymph node and gut. We have assembled a team of researchers with the background and experience required to examine and analyze the tissue samples collected in our patient studies.
The results of these studies will lead to further research into how HIV treatment can be more effective and promote more complete healing of the immune system.
In this study of HIV-positive patients, we will collect samples of blood, lymph node tissue, and gut tissue; precisely measure the level of HIV in those samples throughout the study; and compare the genetic traits of the HIV in the samples to find out:
In this study, we will compare how well herpes is controlled in patients who are HIV-positive versus patients who are not infected with HIV. We want to know if persistent replication of HIV causes more frequent reactivation of herpes simplex in the gut.
The majority of women in the world who have HIV/AIDS were infected through sexual intercourse. These infections may have been prevented if women had a way to protect themselves from getting HIV through sexual encounters. Glycerol Monolaurate (GML) is an FDA approved compound found in many products including cosmetics, soaps, ice cream, and candy. There is evidence that GML may block HIV from getting into the body when used in the vagina, thus preventing disease. However, before GML can be tested in a large population to see if it protects from HIV, we must first make sure it is safe when used in the vagina for multiple consecutive weeks.