NIH Clinical Center Search the Studies: Study Number, Study Title

Protocol Details

PD-1 Inhibition to Determine CNS Reservoir of HIV-Infection

This study is NOT currently recruiting participants.

Summary | Eligibility | Citations | Contacts




Sponsoring Institute

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

Recruitment Detail

Type: Completed Study; data analyses ongoing
Gender: Male & Female
Min Age: 18 Years
Max Age: 120 Years

Referral Letter Required


Population Exclusion(s)




Recruitment Keyword(s)



HIV Infections

Investigational Drug(s)


Investigational Device(s)



Drug: Pembrolizumab

Supporting Site

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


HIV affects millions of people. The disease may "hide" in the brain, even in people with well-controlled HIV without cancer. Then it may "wake up" and continue. The drug pembrolizumab uses the body s immune system to fight cells like cancer cells. It is approved to treat some cancers but not HIV. Researchers want to see if it is safe for HIV-positive people without cancer. This study is not for HIV treatment; only one dose of the drug will be used.


To learn if the drug pembrolizumab, used to treat certain cancers, is safe for HIV-positive people.


Adults ages 18 and older with HIV who are in another NIH protocol


Participants will be screened with:

-Medical history

-Physical and neurological exams

-Blood tests

-Lumbar puncture. The lower back will be numbed. A needle will remove fluid from between back bones.

-FDG-PET/CT. A radioactive sugar will be injected in a thin plastic tube (catheter) inserted in an arm vein. Participants will rest for an hour, urinate, then lie in the scanner. A mask will hold the head still.

-Leukapheresis. An optional procedure at baseline. White blood cells are removed from you using a serum cell separator machine

Women who can become pregnant cannot take pembrolizumab. Men who take it must use 2 kinds of contraception.

Participants will have up to 7 more visits, which repeat some screening tests.

At 1 visit, participants will get one dose of pembrolizumab by catheter for 30 minutes. They will get allergy and pain medicines.

At 2 visits, participants will have a brain MRI. They will get a contrast agent by catheter. They will lie in a metal cylinder that takes pictures for 1-2 hours. They will get earplugs for loud sounds.

--Back to Top--



-18 years or older

-Diagnosis of HIV-1 infection, with positive HIV 1 antibody testing

-HIV RNA less than or equal to 40 copies/mL in plasma in the last 12 or greater months

-CD4 count above 350 cells/uL

-Antiretroviral therapy for 12 months prior to trial

-Fully vaccinated against SARS-CoV-2. Fully vaccinated is defined as:

--Two weeks out from the second dose of a two-dose vaccine series (Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech); or

--Two weeks out from a single-dose vaccine (Johnson & Johnson/Janssen)

-Patient must be willing and able to comply with all the aspects of trial design and follow-up.

-Patients must be able to provide informed consent

-Women of childbearing potential must agree to use contraception (defined as two forms of effective birth control), from the time of enrollment until 4 months after the last exposure to pembrolizumab

-Participants who are physically able to father a child must agree to use 2 effective methods of contraception (birth control) from the time you enroll in the study until 4 months after your last exposure to pembrolizumab

--Effective methods of contraception for this study include:

---hormonal contraception (birth control pills, birth control patches, injected hormones, hormonal implants or vaginal ring),

---Intrauterine device,

---Barrier methods (condom or diaphragm) combined with spermicide, and

---Surgical sterilization (hysterectomy, tubal ligation, or vasectomy).

---If you have had a hysterectomy, tubal ligation, or vasectomy (or have a partner with a hysterectomy, tubal ligation or vasectomy), you do not have to use 2 methods of birth control.


-Clinically significant medical disorders that might expose the patient to undue risk of harm confound study outcomes or prevent the patient from completing the study as identified on screening studies and by patient history. Examples of such conditions include known cardiac disease such as congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, uncontrolled hypertension, kidney disease, liver disease, endocrine disease, pulmonary disease, heart disease, progressive CNS disease such as Parkinson s disease, dementia, prior tuberculosis infection or ongoing CNS opportunistic infection.

-Patient has received immunomodulatory/immunosuppressive therapy (including IV steroids but excluding local injections) in the preceding 6 months.

-Patient with known autoimmunity that would include but is not limited to disorders such as hypo/hyperthyroidism, myasthenia gravis, diabetes mellitus type 1, hemolytic anemia, and immune mediated hepatitis (but excluding patients with hypothyroidism already on thyroid replacement therapy).

-Prior history of cancer (excluding non-invasive squamous and basal cell carcinoma)

-Any opportunistic infection in the prior 2 years (excluding thrush) including latent TB (or a positive TB Quantiferon Gold test)

-Patient has received other investigational drugs within 3 months before enrollment

-Positive serological or PCR evidence of active or prior infection with HTLV-1/II, Hepatitis B or C. Patients with hepatitis B core (+), surface antibody (+), surface antigen ( ) and hepatitis B DNA (-) eligible to participate in the study (provided they are on tenofovir, lamivudine or TAF). Participants with prior hepatitis C who are hepatitis C antibody (+) but hepatitis C RNA (-) with normal liver enzymes and no evidence of cirrhosis on clinical liver ultrasound are eligible to participate in the study.

-Metal in the body which would make having an MRI scan unsafe, such as pacemakers, stimulators, pumps, aneurysm clips, metallic prostheses, artificial heart valves, cochlear implants or shrapnel fragments, or history of welding or metal worker


-Inability to lie comfortably on the back for up to two hours.

-Abnormal anti-thyroid panel (anti-TPO and anti-TG) test at screening visit.

-Abnormal screening/baseline blood tests exceeding any of the limits defined below or as deemed exclusionary by the investigators on review:

--AST and ALT values >1.1 times ULN

--Fasting triglyceride > 300 mg/dL

--Total bilirubin >1.1 times ULN (unless participant is taking atazanavir or has Gilbert syndrome)

--Creatinine Clearance or eGFR <60 ml/minute (adjusted for race)

--Hemoglobin < 10 g/dL

--Absolute neutrophil count < 1000/microliter

--Platelet count <130,000/mm(3) (if platelet clumping is present on hematology slide review, platelet count <100,000/mm3 is considered exclusionary to study)

--Hemoglobin A1c greater than or equal to 6%

--Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) and adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) within normal limits. If TSH is not within normal limits then the participant may be eligible if thyroxine (T4) is within normal limits. Participants are not excluded if they are on a stable dose of replacement thyroid medication; dose may be adjusted as needed.

-An employee or staff of the NIH

--Back to Top--


Not Provided

--Back to Top--


Principal Investigator

Referral Contact

For more information:

Lauren B. Reoma, M.D.
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
(301) 435-7531

Amanda M. Wiebold
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)
National Institutes of Health
Building 10
Room 7C107
10 Center Drive
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
(301) 594-5194

Office of Patient Recruitment
National Institutes of Health Clinical Center (CC)
Building 61, 10 Cloister Court
Bethesda, Maryland 20892
Toll Free: 1-800-411-1222
Local Phone: 301-451-4383
TTY: TTY Users Dial 7-1-1

Clinical Trials Number:


--Back to Top--