Purpose of review: Interest in finding a potential ‘cure’ for HIV has taken on greater interest and urgency since the report of an individual who underwent allogeneic stem cell transplant from a CCR5 delta 32 homozygote donor after high-dose chemotherapy for acute myeloid leukemia. The potential role of cancer chemotherapy and other cancer-directed treatment approaches is discussed in the context of their potential role in helping to eliminate HIV from the infected host.
Recent findings: Cancer chemotherapy and other cancer-targeted agents have been used successfully in treating a variety of malignancies in both HIV-infected and HIV-uninfected individuals. Lessons learned from these strategies may be of importance in helping to define more effective ways of controlling and eliminating HIV as well. Application of these anticancer strategies to patients with HIV are beginning to be explored and may help determine their potential usefulness in this disease as well.
Summary: Although cytotoxic chemotherapy is a crude and not particularly effective way of removing HIV latently infected cells and tissue reservoirs, several new approaches to targeting and controlling cancer proliferation may be of value in HIV cure research and may one day help to end this disease.