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can we really cure hiv ???
Mar 1, 2009

Hi Dr Ben,

do you really think we can cure hiv ???

please give me your opinion on this latest report on a hiv cure....

Dr Ben the whole world knows a german man was cured of hiv with a stem cell treatment in germany recently, but why have more people not tryed to cure themselves with the same stemm treatment ???

Dr Ben please give me your information on any cutting edge treatments for hiv in the pipeline

thank you so much

HOUSTON -- There is real hope that whats happening in a Houston lab might lead to a cure for HIV.

AP

Researcher holds test tubes with separated HIV infected blood We have found an innovative way to kill the virus by finding this small region of HIV that is unchangeable, Dr. Sudhir Paul of the University of Texas Medical School at Houston said.

Dr. Paul and Dr. Miguel Escobar arent talking about just suppressing HIV theyre talking about destroying it permanently by arming the immune system with a new weapon lab tests have shown to be effective.

Ford Stuart has been HIV positive for 15 years. Hes on a powerful drug cocktail that keeps the disease in check.

Im on four different medications. Three of them are brand new, and its the first time that Ive ever been non-detectible, Stuart said. Im down to about just for the HIV about nine pills per day, five in the morning and four at night.

But Stuart knows HIV mutates, and eventually it will learn how to outsmart his medications.

The virus is truly complex and has many tricks up its sleeve, Paul said.

But Dr. Paul thinks hes cracked a code.

Weve discovered the weak spot of HIV, he said.

Paul and his team have zeroed in on a section of a key protein in HIVs structure that does not mutate.

The virus needs at least one constant region, and that is the essence of calling it the Achilles heel, Paul said.

Video

That Achilles heel is the doctors way in. They take advantage of it with something called an abzyme.

Its naturally produced by people, like lupus patients. When they applied that abzyme to the HIV virus, it permanently disarmed it.

What we already have in our hand are the abzymes that we could be infusing into the human subjects with HIV infection, essentially to move the virus, Paul said.

Basically, their idea could be used to control the disease for people who already have it and prevent infection for those at risk.

The theory has held up in lab and animal testing. The next step is human trials.

Meanwhile, every day in Houston, three people are diagnosed with HIV.

The doctors still need funding to launch human trials. In the world of HIV research, thats often where things fall apart.

Clinical trials are very expensive, Paul said.

That is the worry of the researcher. This is what nightmares are made of that after 30 years of work, you find it doesnt work, Paul said.

But so far, it is working.

This is the holy grail of HIV research, to develop a preventative vaccine, Paul said.

If we can get the viral loads down to a manageable level, that will preclude the need for these conventional drugs, Escobar said.

Still, even if everything goes well, its at least five years before the research could help people with HIV.

The doctors know people like Ford Stuart are waiting.

There are so many people struggling with the disease because it affects not only your body, but also your psyche, how you perceive yourself, he said.

If nothing else, the research is promising for the tens of millions waiting for a cure.

Response from Dr. Young

Hello and thanks for your post.

This finding has been an interesting advance in the basic science of HIV and has generated a lot of press. However, there are plenty of "unchangeable" regions of HIV (or other viruses or living things)- so, just because there is an evolutionarily conserved region does not prove that this will be a drug target or a successful (or safe) drug.

So, yes, we continue to need to search for innovative targets and strategies to treat (and as the article so accurately points out) prevent HIV. For now, now that the previous 20 years of drug discovery have been nothing short of revolutionary. I expect that the next 20 can also bring unprecedented discoveries and new treatments.

Thanks for reading and be well, BY



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