Capitol Hill Medical clinic doctor co-authors breakthrough HIV study

Dr. Rob Killian (Photo: Capitol Hill Medical)

Gay City Health’s Twitter feed has alerted us to an important breakthrough in HIV research documented in a study co-authored by Capitol Hill Medical’s Rob Killian.

Capitol Hill Medical is a Boren Ave clinic dedicated to serving LGBT patients and offering primary medical care and HIV medicine. Here’s a blog post by Dr. Killian about the study he co-authored.

For more information about the clinic, check out

Today SCIENCE goes to press with a lead story about the new secrets we have discovered about HIV and the difference between those who do get illness or immune destruction and those with HIV who do not ever progress to immune weakening and an HIV related illness or progression requiring multiple medications to control the viral replication and spread through the body.

Below this entry will be the full International Press release that will go out with today’s publication of SCIENCE. But, I would like to explain what this science and research findings mean.

Over 1500 Individuals have been studied around the world to make this new story about HIV possible. There has been a quiet and persistent study ongoing since 2005 with multiple HIV specialists and researchers working quietly to find out more about how those who never get sick with HIV differ from the majority of humans that do.

We are announcing today for the world that we now know what that difference is, that it is directly a significant but small difference in the proteins they have in their immune response related to there genetic makeup and what they do in the creation of their antibody production that allows their body to hold HIV replication and spread at bay.

We believe this new knowledge will quickly lead us to a vaccine for those 98% of HIV infected individuals to create an identical natural immune response or antibody that will allow them to mimic this super antibody response.

As one of the many researchers who have followed several patients in this study, and as a co-author of this article that is published today in SCIENCE, I am proud to announce with humble pride and hope that we now have a road map to ending the disease that this virus causes.

The bullet points in lay man’s terms about what this new announcement and discovery means are the following:

1. There is a different immune response in general in that small amount of HIV infected individuals that never get sick with HIV. This immune response is directly related to specific proteins that are created in their antibody response.

2. Knowing these proteins and how to make vaccines, we will now begin to move towards a vaccine production process to create an effective immune response in everyone with HIV in the world to mimic the natural immunity these small percentage of humans create naturally against HIV.

3. This is not a cure for HIV. But, it is a road map to the end of the disease that HIV causes. That is the miracle and the good news of today.

4. Multiple questions still need to be answered. How will this vaccine be produced and what will it take to give all people with HIV a natural immunity against the virus. What does this mean for the cocktail drug therapies that are currently being used to allow people to thrive and survive with HIV? What will knowing this vaccine is coming do to those at ongoing and great risk of becoming infected with HIV?

5. This is the most hopeful I have been in my career about the fight against HIV. I believe we are now looking at the destination that millions of us have hoped for: which is the end of this scourge among humanity.


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5 thoughts on “Capitol Hill Medical clinic doctor co-authors breakthrough HIV study

  1. I’m sure Dr. Rob is a great physician, but this announcement is not new news. If what Dr. Rob is speaking of, and I’m 99.99999% certain he is, he’s speaking of the CCR-5 (mutation), which I’m fortunate to have. It’s true, I’ve had the virus for over 25 years, have enjoyed most of this time with no viral load, and haven’t progressed to Aids, and, I’ve been studied (with others like me) at the Fred Hutch because of it.

    This “discovery” was actually found in 1996, so it’s over 15 years old, and still, no vaccine. I’m not trying to be a pessimist here, but I’m not comfortable in what I perceive as false hope either. I’m the lucky one, I already have the CCR-5 mutation naturally, and I wish everyone had it, those I’ve lost had it, so please, is this new “news”, or is this grandstanding…. Dr. Rob…. Care to clarify if this is a “new” finding? Real hope for the rest of them?


  2. Lower down in the linked article, it describes how the protein HLA-B is implicated. They looked at the genome of the controllers versus people who have uncontrolled HIV, and found that the controllers have similarities in the HLA-B gene region. They propose that the controllers’ HLA-B protein may be more efficient at presenting viral particles to the immune system.

    A company called Theraclone Sciences, also located in First Hill, in collaboration with the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative has found broadly neutralizing antibodies from an elite controller. IAVI scientist will be using those antibodies to identify HIV proteins that may become vaccine candidates. HIV is actually coated in lots of sugar, that’s why previous attempts of creating vaccines from it haven’t been effective, because people just end up making antibodies to sugar after being vaccinated. In addition to the HLA-B trait, controllers’ immune systems have found vulnerable spots on the virus to make neutralizing antibodies to.

    After a long lull, there’s much renewed enthusiasm in AIDS vaccine research.