The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

Diabetic Drug 'Cure' claim

Oct 24, 2006

Hi Dr Bob

Firstly, want to say thanks for your fantastic and insightful replies on here .... you're a true inspiration! OK, enough of the sucking up (so to speak :)! I read an article on the net about an existing diabetic drug which may lead to a cure for hiv (at the following link)

Have you heard anything about this? The report sounds suspiciously sensational but if even some of it is true, sounds promising, no?

Hope you can reply.

p.s Not only are you God damn clever but you ooze sex appeal .... if only I lived in the US!!!

p.p.s Noticed you organise piano recitals to raise money for your wonderful foundation. I'm a professional concert pianist who would love to offer my services (as a pianist of course!) and frequently perform in the US. Let me know if you'd like more info...

D xx (UK)

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Dxx (UK) Pianist,

Generally speaking, when reports sound "suspiciously sensational," they often are too good to be true. Whether that is the case with this "potential cure" is difficult to say, because the article gives so little information.

From what I can surmise from the report, this mystery cure hasn't even been tested in cell culture yet and the first human trials are not even expected until 2007. I'm assuming this article is translated from French and perhaps something got "lost in translation." I do speak French (sort of), so I tried to locate the original French reference, but wound up in a very entertaining and visually stimulating site for Têtu. (Hmmm . . . talk about "oozing sex appeal!") At any rate, my best guess is that this article may relate to "siRNA" ("RNA silencing"). It's an immune-based therapy we have been evaluating for about a year or so. I'll reprint some basic information about the therapy below. Stay tuned and I promise to keep you posted on this and other promising therapies as the information becomes available.

Next, thanks for your kind (and oh so flattering) comments. I'll bet you say that to all the cyber sex-perts, don't you?!?

Regarding piano, yes! I'm a classically trained pianist and along with my partner Steve (Dr. Steve, the expert on The Body's Tratamientos Forum) have given a series of benefit concerts for HIV/AIDS called "A Concerted Effort." To date we have raised well over $1,000,000 for AIDS service organizations worldwide ( We have collaborated with a number of concert artists and are always on the lookout for further collaborators. We would certainly like to hear more about your "services" (whatever they may be). You can send the information to the Foundation via email at or snail mail at:

The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation 1000 Fremont Ave., Suite 145 Los Altos, CA 94024

Be well. Stay well. Practice hard (so to speak).

Dr. Bob

Human Cells Can "Silence" HIV Genes

May 19, 2005

For the first time, scientists have shown that humans use an immune defense process common in plants and invertebrates to battle a virus. The new finding that human cells can silence an essential part of HIV's genetic make-up could have important implications for the treatment of people infected with the virus. Led by Kuan-Teh Jeang, M.D, Ph.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part the National Institutes of Health, the researchers published their findings in this week's issue of the journal Immunity. "This research suggests that a novel approach to HIV therapy targeting a stable component of HIV might be feasible," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D.

The phenomenon, called RNA silencing, was detected first in plants and later in insects. Although plants and insects lack the sophisticated immune defenses of higher organisms, they nevertheless successfully battle viruses by detecting, and then silencing, viral genetic material. Silencing leads to the destruction of viral RNA. Viruses, however, are not permanently defeated because they have evolved ways to suppress the silencing action.

Until now, scientists have not had clear evidence that RNA silencing plays a role in the defensive repertoire of mammals and other vertebrates. Dr. Jeang and his colleagues set out to determine if RNA silencing (also called RNA interference or RNAi) contributes to human cells' defense against HIV.

They asked three questions. First, does HIV have genetic sequences that an HIV-infected cell can detect and transform into the necessary precursors of RNAi, called short interfering RNA (siRNA)? Second, do human cells use siRNAs to disable HIV? Third, if human cells try to battle HIV using RNAi, does HIV have a way to evade the defensive maneuver? The answer to all three questions, the scientists determined, is yes.

The most unexpected finding, according to Dr. Jeang, was the way HIV uses one of its proteins, called Tat, to suppress the silencing efforts of the cell. HIV is well known for evading drugs by quickly mutating its genes. However, the virus could not evade the newly discovered sequence-specific siRNA attack by mutation. Instead, HIV required a virally encoded protein to blunt the assault. Dr. Jeang believes that Tat may be shielding a rare HIV Achilles' heel, a genetic sequence that, for functional reasons, the virus cannot change in order to escape siRNA attack. This novel siRNA sequence discovered by the team may lead to the development of new RNAi-based drugs to which HIV would not be able to develop resistance by simple mutation.

The first author of the paper is Yamina Bennasser, Ph.D, of NIAID. Other authors are Shu-Yun Le, Ph.D, of the National Cancer Institute and Monsef Benkirane, Ph.D, of the Institut de Genetique Humaine in Montpellier, France.

Reference Y Bennasser et al. Evidence that HIV-1 encodes an siRNA and a suppressor of RNA silencing. Immunity 22:1-13 (2005).

question jamais posée. s il vous plait docteur, j ai peur, pas pour moi mais pour ma femme et mes enfants.
Just Read it (Or not) Pt. 2

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint