International Collaboration to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure by Stem Cell Transplantation

IciStem is a collaborative project to guide and investigate the potential for HIV cure in HIV-infected patients requiring allogeneic stem cell transplantation for hematological disorders.

The IciStem consortium is composed of an expert European review panel of hematologists with experience in allogeneic SCT procedures along with infectious disease specialists, virologist and immunologists with expertise in the field of HIV-1 tropism, reservoirs and cure.

We prospectively study allogeneic SCT recipients with HIV-1 infection, collecting complete information on underlying malignancy, chemotherapy, transplant procedure, donor selection, HIV-tropism, cART, and virological and immunological characteristics of a variety of samples before and after the transplant.

IAS Cure Strategy

A new Cure strategy, developed by the International AIDS Society (IAS) was published on July 11th, 2016, in the journal Nature Medicine:

Consortium statement on treatment interruption

Successful treatment of HIV is the suppression of the virus in the blood as measured through blood tests. While the virus is suppressed in the blood - registering undetectable in blood tests - the virus remains in infected cells in a dormant state (the ‘viral reservoir’). When treatment is interrupted the virus usually rebounds in the blood to detectable levels within 2–3 weeks from the release of infectious virus from the viral reservoir.

Treatment of HIV-patients has improved drastically over the past years, new developments are on the rise, and an HIV cure is gradually becoming a more realistic outcome. The only way to evaluate the effectiveness of a functional (virological control in the absence of antiretroviral therapy) or sterilizing (virus eradication) cure of HIV is to interrupt antiretroviral therapy (ART). 

Interrupting ART has a danger, that the virus will rebound because the suppressing therapy has been removed. ART interruption must only be performed in a controlled clinical setting with monitoring over time of the viral rebound and the ability for scientifically evaluation. 

Towards finding new strategies and a cure for HIV IciStem encourages and supports treatment interruption in a clinical setting with the consent of an HIV+ individual. IciStem strongly discourages treatment interruption in any uncontrolled setting. 

In choosing to participate in HIV scientific research HIV+ individuals should understand the risks of a viral rebound from their viral reservoir, which may lead to acute retroviral syndrome, increased risk of HIV transmission, accelerated disease progression, and the possible development of drug resistance.

The IciStem consortium respects and appreciates the risks HIV+ individuals are willing to take in helping us scientifically pursue cure research.IciStem consortium members strongly advise patients who are willing to interrupt/stop their treatment to discuss this with their clinician prior to interruption, and to only due it under medical/clinical supervision. If you do this in the IciStem consortium we will provide advice on when and how to proceed based on our evaluation of cure research protocol and actively partner with you towards minimizing the risks to you during treatment interruption.



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amfAR website

You can find a recent article about the IciStem project at the amfAR website.
Please click here for the link.

Recent presentations

IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum, 22 & 23 July 2017, Paris, France
Oral presentation, title: Acheivement of full donor chimerism with episodes of alloreactivity contributes to reduce the HIV reservoir after allogeneic stem cell transplantation
Presentor: Maria Salgado
Date: July 23rd 2017

Picture: IAS-ANRS Dominique Dormant Prize: L-R Françoise Barré-Sinoussi, Maria Salgado (winner), François Dabis & Linda-Gail Bekker
9th IAS Conference on HIV Science (IAS 2017) Paris, France. Copyright: Marcus Rose/IAS

IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum, 22 & 23 July 2017, Paris, France
Poster, title: Murine model to predict viral rebound in HIV+ allotransplanted subjects
Presentor: Maria Salgado

IAS HIV Cure & Cancer Forum, 22 & 23 July 2017, Paris, France
Poster, title: Allgeneic stem cell transplantation in HIV-1-infected individuals - the IciStem Consortium: the role of lymphocyte populations
Presentor: Johanna Eberhard

9th IAS Conference on HIV Science, 23-26 July 2017, Paris, France
Poster, title: Allogeneic stem cell transplantation on HIV-1-infected individuals - the IciStem Consortium: the role of lymphocyte populations
Presentor: Maria Salgado

15th EU Meeting on HIV & Hepatitis, 7 - 9 June 2017, Rome, Italy
Oral presentation, title: HIV cure strategies
Presenter: Monique Nijhuis
Date: June 9th 2017
Session: 7

ECCMID, 22 - 25 April 2017, Vienna, Austria 
Oral presentation, title: Potential for HIV cure by stem cell transplantation; the IciStem project
Session Title: Cure for viral diseases
Presenter: Annemarie Wensing
Date: Arpil 23rd 2017
Session Time: 09:00 - 11:00
Session Hall: Hall A

Seminar "Reservorios e investigación básica sobre la curación del VIH", 27 April 2017, Barcelona, Spain
Oral presentation, title: Cell and Gene Therapy in HIV cure strategies
Presenter: Monique Nijhuis

The IciStem project is supported by AmfAR Research Consortium on HIV eradication (ARCHE) Research Grant # 109293-59-RGRL