Drug-related mitochondrial toxicity in HIV and HCV antiretroviral therapy: impact of mitochondrial DNA/nuclear DNA ratio changes on therapy outcome

Triple combination antiretroviral therapy has greatly reduced the rate at which people with HIV infections progress to AIDS. However, the medications used in the therapy can be quite toxic, leading to serious liver, kidney, muscle and nerve problems and reducing the length of time patients are able to tolerate the treatment. Dr. Hélène Côté and colleagues at the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS have developed a blood test to measure toxicity from antiretroviral therapy and are now assessing its effectiveness in detecting and monitoring toxicity levels. She is also investigating whether the test could predict complications from drug therapy before serious symptoms appear. If so, it could be used to tailor use of antiretroviral therapy and improve treatment outcomes. As part of the research, Dr. Côté also is studying the effectiveness of the blood test in measuring toxicity of medications used for hepatitis C.