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Seems Promising (HIV Cure?)

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by ckparrothead, Jul 15, 2016.

  1. ckparrothead

    ckparrothead Draft Forum Moderator Luxury Box

    Dec 1, 2007
    So doctors have been able to use antiretroviral medicines to keep HIV at bay in infected people for a long time. The current accepted treatment is to basically be on them the rest of your life.

    But the virus is never cured because it hides out in infected cells that are virtually impossible to tell from uninfected cells, and these cells function as reservoirs of virus that could be released at any time resulting in widespread infection again.

    What they need to be able to do is find a way to mark those hidden infected cells, so that the immune system kills them. In this way HIV treatment and Cancer treatment are becoming similar in that they're focusing on increasing the number of "Killer" T-Cells which basically attack and kill cells that aren't like all the other cells. Those CD8+ cells will kill cancer cells but they'll also kill HIV infected cells.

    But the reservoir cells in question are for whatever reason invisible to them.

    They're calling this a breakthrough on that front.


    There's a sugar-binding protein that binds to the sugars on the surface of infected cells and begins a chain of events that results in the release of HIV virus from inside the cells, basically forcing these invisible infected cells to show up to the immune system as infected cells that will be destroyed. Think of it like looking for a car in a big parking lot and using the alarm button on your keychain to get your car to light up and make noise.

    There's a bonus that the protein results in the release of an antiviral protein which functions as a mutagen binding to the DNA of the HIV virus as it escapes, destroying the genetic code and rendering the virus harmless. So basically this gallectin-9 protein could be a big part of the way to get from antiretrovirals reducing the amount of virus in your system to just those present in the hidden cells, to actually just outright being cured.

    Incidentially I didn't know this but there has been one person completely cured of the virus (not Magic Johnson) and he did it through a stem cell transplant for his leukemia, with the stem cell donor being known to be immune to HIV. There are people known to be immune to HIV. I think they first discovered that among some sex workers. This is not considered a realistic cure though for many logistic reasons.
    Ohiophinphan likes this.
  2. Ohiophinphan

    Ohiophinphan Chaplain Staff Member Luxury Box

    I have read about and seen on science programs about a cancer treatment that uses modified polio virus to kill cancer. I bring it up because the method seems to involve breaking through the shell of the cancer and allowing the body's T cells to attack and kill the tumor. From that, other things I have read/seen regarding my late wife's treatment, and now what you report; the therapy which shows promise involves attacking the shell and then boosting the normal immune response. That could be promising on a number of fronts. Thanks for this.
    ckparrothead likes this.

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