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RNAi and HIV
Aug 31, 2011

Hi Doc-

I was recently diagnosed with HIV and am doing quite well on Atripla. I am also an AP Biology teacher and I came across something this morning and I wanted to ask about any up to date research about it.

I was refreshing my memory on RNAi (or RNA interference) which as I understand it acts like an internal security system to remove RNA that codes for harmful proteins (like ones made by viruses). I came across this video on NOVA that really sparked my interest: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/body/rnai.html

I also found this article in science digest magazine: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080807130828.htm

My question is - Are there any updates about using RNAi to treat / cure HIV infection?

Thanks!

Response from Dr. McGowan

Thanks for your question. One of my residents asked about this today too.....great minds think alike.

Yes, there is great interest as you note in the potential for RNAi to interrupt HIV infection/replication but harnessing the body's machinery to regulate gene expression. Strategies have also been studied to try to target HIV genomes with drug resistence mutations to restore susceptibility to ARV drugs. Problems come with logistics and delivery, etc. But the research is hot in this area.

Joe



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