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Researchers Discover Gene in HIV Used to Undermine Immune System

August 25, 2003

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

Researchers at the University of Utah and the University of Rochester have discovered a gene in HIV that works to stop white blood cell replication and suppresses the immune system, according to a study published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, Scripps Howard/Washington Times reports (Scripps Howard/Washington Times, 8/24). The VPR gene, one of nine genes in HIV, activates the ATR gene in white blood cells, which prevents the infection-fighting cells from replicating, according to the Salt Lake Tribune (Hamilton, Salt Lake Tribune, 8/22). This "hijack[ing]" of the ATR gene in white blood cells eventually disables the immune system and leaves individuals vulnerable to opportunistic infections and cancer, according to the Salt Lake City Deseret News (Jarvik, Salt Lake City Deseret News, 8/22). The researchers said that new treatments for HIV/AIDS could be developed if scientists discover a way to prevent the VPR gene from activating ATR, according to the Tribune. "We would like to find a method or a substance that would allow us to interfere with the ability of HIV to kill the white blood cells using this mechanism," Vincente Planelles of the University of Utah said. Developing such new treatments will likely take five to 10 years, according to the Tribune (Salt Lake Tribune, 8/22).

Back to other news for August 25, 2003


Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/hiv. The Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of the Kaiser Family Foundation, by The Advisory Board Company. © 2003 by The Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.
 
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