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Targeting Reactivated HIV Using Natural Killer Cells: Another Potential Cure Strategy (Video)

By Warren Tong

September 11, 2013

"A lot of these strategies for [an HIV] cure involve waking up the virus in some way, reactivating the transcription from the stably integrated virus, but then the next question is what will eliminate that cell now that you've woken the sleeping virus?" asks Eileen Scully, M.D., Ph.D., from The Ragon Institute of MGH, MIT and Harvard.

In this interview, Scully sits down with Fred Schaich, of the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA), to discuss her work training the natural killer (NK) cells of the innate immune system to recognize and eliminate HIV, as part of a cure strategy.

Because of HIV's elusiveness and ability to subdue the body's immune responses, Scully hopes to use subtle stress molecules to help identify HIV once it's reactivated from the hidden reservoirs.

"The approach I'm going to try to take is to couple the reactivation with an inhibitor of Nef, which is an accessory protein of HIV to see if I can maximize expression of these stress molecules to allow elimination of these cells very early, before you have full production of intact virions," Scully explains.

Watch the video to learn more:

The video above has been posted on with permission from our partners at the International Foundation for Alternative Research in AIDS (IFARA). Visit IFARA's website or YouTube channel to watch more video interviews from the conference, as well as earlier meetings.

Warren Tong is the research editor for and

Follow Warren on Twitter: @WarrenAtTheBody.

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