PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Researchers from Temple University have discovered a possible breakthrough in finding a cure for HIV and AIDS. A team of scientists say they’ve found a way to eliminate HIV in animals.
Since 2005, Philly AIDS Thrift shop has donated more than $2.5 million to help people battling the virus.
“We all were affected by HIV/AIDS going back 30-40 years now,” Philly AIDS Thrift co-owner Tom Brennan said. “Lost friends and loved ones.”
Brennan says he’s thrilled about an incredible advancement in the fight for a cure happening just about five miles north of his quirky shop near South Street.
“It’s breathtaking,” he said.
In 2013, neuroscientist Dr. Kamel Khalili and his team at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University have been researching ways to rid the human body entirely of HIV.
“For the first time we were able to eliminate completely replication competent virus, HIV, from the infected animal,” Khalili said.
The breakthrough comes after years of research with fellow scientists at the University of Nebraska.
“This could be a step toward the cure,” Khalili said.
Khalili says the method is essentially a two-step process, where the virus is suppressed with medication and then new technology effectively slices out HIV infected DNA from genomes harboring it.
“The technique is very safe and efficient and able to completely eliminate the viral DNA forever,” he said.
The next step is FDA-monitored human clinical trials.
“Fingers are crossed. We should be in clinical trials next year this time,” Khalili said. “It’s amazing, can hardly wait.”
And neither can those who have loved ones affected by HIV and AIDS.
“Trust me, we’ll find another great cause,” Brennan said. “We would love to change the name of the store.”
Currently, the new method is being tested on primates.
Clinical human trials are slated for mid-2020. There’s no word on how long they could take.