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BEBelgium
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Some new HIV breakthrough!
      #191475 - 05/15/06 02:51 PM


Just for info:
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in a-plying a technique called RNA Interference to the T-cells of the immune system.

This pioneering technique could be used making HIV-infected T-cells ‘commit suicide’ if they get infected.

Although the team from the Children’s Hospital of Pennsylvania (CHP) has so far only made this happen in the test tube, researchers are excited that one of the most exciting areas in genetic medicine has at last proved to have a potential application in HIV treatment.

RNA interference, although extremely complex and yet to be clinically applied in humans, is potentially a revolution in the treatment of viral and genetic diseases and cancers.

Its promise lies in its exquisite sensitivity.

In theory RNA interference could stop a particular group of cells from doing the one thing that makes them cancerous or makes them produce viruses or harmful chemicals, while leaving the rest of their functions intact.

Using RNA interference could make a cell behave ‘as if’ it wasn’t cancerous or wasn’t infected with a virus, and therefore essentially restore the body to a precancerous or pre-infected state.

Cancers happen when genes that tell cells to divide get ‘turned on’ at the wrong time and ones that tell them to stop dividing get turned off.

Similarly, viruses insert ‘fake genes’ into cells, which then tell them to produce more viruses instead of doing their proper job.

RNA interference is an ancient immune defence, first discovered in plants. What happens is that other genes in the cell produce proteins called short interfering RNAs – siRNAs. What these do is to essentially ‘cancel out’ and neutralise the proteins produced by the hostile genes in the cell that are making it misbehave.

Each cell in the body is a minute chemical factory, and in cancer or viral infection it is as if the factory produces chemicals that damage both the factory itself and its environment. What siRNAs do is to prevent these harmful chemicals from ever getting out of the factory or even doing any damage inside it.

What the CHP team, headed by Dr Terri Finkel, did, was to succeed in infecting T-cells in the test tube with a siRNA vector – an artificial virus containing an artificial gene that told them to produce siRNAs.

Although T-cells, as the guardians of the immune system, are among the most important targets for RNA interference, they have proved almost impossible to ‘transfect’ in this way in the past, unlike other cells.

Dr Finkel’s team first tested their technique by introducing another artificial gene into their T-cells that made them glow green.

When they transfected them with the siRNA vector, the siRNAs turned off the gene and dimmed the cells’ glow.

They then made another siRNA that silenced a gene called HALP.

The importance of HALP is that it stands for HIV-Associated Life Preserver. It’s a gene that HIV ‘hijacks’; when HALP is turned on, it extends the life of T-cells.

HIV manipulates the gene to keep HALP turned on all the time, so T-cells not only stay alive and keep producing new HIV viruses for much longer, they also don’t self-destruct in the way that virus-infected cells normally do.

Dr Finkel said: “By knocking out HALP, the siRNA may represent a suicide vector. It may allow HIV-infected cells to self-destruct, thus eliminating a hiding place for the virus.”

So far siRNA has only got as far as preventing some kinds of non-HIV-related immune-system destruction in animals. But scientists are excited that the technique has at last found an application that could, in the end, render HIV infection harmless.

What do you think? seems to me first approach that lad to no more latent infection which means no infection at all!

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Re: Some new HIV breakthrough! new
      #191497 - 05/15/06 03:45 PM

There is hope around every corner.. I read this article and was generally happy... But I imagine, its going to be awhile..

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BEBelgium
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Re: Some new HIV breakthrough! new
      #191500 - 05/15/06 03:58 PM

I agree with you.. there will be some time before this gets to humans, but its true that these findings, as yet based on studies in cells, not in patients, may
potentially lead to future treatments that could fully eliminate a patient's HIV infection.
see the press release of the hospital:
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/micro_stories.pl?ACCT=159681&TICK=CHOP&STORY=/www/story/04-06-2004/0002142011&EDATE=Apr+6,+2004


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AIDS2HIV
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Post deleted by Becky new
      #191501 - 05/15/06 04:00 PM



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Re: Some new HIV breakthrough! new
      #191506 - 05/15/06 04:18 PM

not much choice there Co..

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