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Preventive use of statins to reduce arterial inflammation in HIV

Research Team:  Paul MacPherson (principal investigator), Giresh Dwivedi, Rob Beanlands, Jonathan Angel, Kwan Chan, Robert deKamp, George Wells, Vicente Corrales-Medina

What is this research about?

Cardiovascular disease is an increasingly common health concern among people with HIV, typically occurring at an earlier age than in the general population. While people living with HIV often have other cardiovascular risk factors, emerging evidence suggests that chronic inflammation associated with HIV infection also plays a role.  Some research suggests that the activation by HIV of monocytes, cells found in the blood, may drive this inflammation.

Medications known as “statins” reduce cholesterol and have the additional benefit of reducing inflammation in blood vessels. They are widely used in the general population to control cholesterol and protect cardiac health. This team is testing the use of these drugs to prevent chronic inflammation and cardiac disease in people living with HIV.

This study will compare two groups of people living with HIV over a six-month period. The first group will receive standard HIV care including ART, the second will have similar HIV care (including ART) plus receiving regular doses of the statin drug, rosuvastatin.  The people participating will be healthy and have no current signs of cardiac disease.

The trial will look at the influence of the statin treatment on early signs of cardiac disease such as blood vessel inflammation (measured using PET scanning) and monocyte activation (blood test). It will also examine the potential risk of interactions between statins and ART. This study begins to explore the idea that statins may have a role in the preventative health care of people living with HIV.

OHTN Support: This project is supported by a OHTN 3-year project grant of $374,252 begun in 2014.

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