Scientists report major advance in fight against AIDS

Scientists at San Diego-based Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have reportedly conducted a groundbreaking test in which developed cells have successfully blunted the virus which causes AIDS.

HIV, or Human Immunodeficiency Virus, attacks a human being’s immune system by destroying vital CD4 cells (T helper), which provide a defense against infection in the body.

In its advances stages, HIV becomes AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.  While no cure exists, scientists have developed therapies over the past three decades which have controlled the progress of the disease to decelerate its mutation into AIDS.

Once acquired, HIV enters the bloodstream, attacks T helper cells, renders the cell useless and exits the cell.  As HIV escapes the dying cell, it acquires the mucus membrane of the T helper, which enables it to avoid detection from CD4 cells which destroy infections in the body.

Those with HIV suffering from common aliments such as pneumonia are in danger of dying due to a lack of sufficient immunity.

Using a lentivirus, researchers at TSRI have discovered a method of attaching HIV-fighting antibodies to immune cells, producing a cell population strong enough to fight HIV.

In their research and experimentation, scientists have learned the HIV-fighting cells produced in a lab are capable of reproducing quickly enough to replace dying T helper cells.  Testing has demonstrated the HIV-fighting cells slow the disease further.

Although a method yet to be approved by the federal government, TSRI has entered into an agreement with City of Hope’s Center for Gene Therapy in California for further testing.

Officials with both institutions are hopeful they can begin clinical trials within two years.


[Daily Mail]