Today the majority of human immune deficiency virus (HIV) infected patients in the US are on long-term (10+ years) antiretroviral therapy (ART). While ART suppresses HIV replication to below 50 copies / ml, not much is known about the long-term effect of these ART drugs on Kaposi sarcoma associated herpesvirus (KSHV) transmission and disease. We hypothesize that ART drug exposure contributes directly to a restriction in KSHV gene expression. If so, the mechanism could manifest itself in epigenetic modification of the viral episome and in altered release of micro RNAs in salivary exosomes. Such modification may respond differently to different drug regimens. Currently no other experimental studies investigate KSHV pathobiology in the background of multi-year exposure to ART drugs. This is a renewal application in response to PA-10- 290/Research on Malignancies in the Context of HIV/AIDS (R01).

Public Health Relevance

This application seeks to understand how anti-retroviral therapy drugs modulate AIDS associated oral infections and cancer. It seeks to validate novel biomarkers in saliva and oral samples. We base our approach on a novel class of RNAs, the so-called micro RNAs, that has been detected in oral secretions and that we and others have shown to correlate with different stages of tumor progression.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Research Project (R01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Rodriguez-Chavez, Isaac R
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University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
Schools of Medicine
Chapel Hill
United States
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