Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Twenty years of monkey research boosts AIDS knowledge

28.08.2002


Research on an AIDS-like disease in monkeys continues to help scientists understand problems such as how HIV causes AIDS, how the virus "hides" from the immune system and how the disease might be prevented or treated, two decades after the human and monkey diseases were identified.



"These animals have been indispensable for understanding how the virus works and in working toward vaccines," said Murray Gardner, professor emeritus of medical pathology at the UC Davis Center for Comparative Medicine.

About 300 researchers from around the world will reflect on those past achievements and discuss new data when they gather Sept. 8-11 in Monterey, Calif., for the 20th Annual Symposium on Nonhuman Primate Models for AIDS. The California National Primate Research Center (CNPRC) at the University of California, Davis, is hosting the conference.


More than 20 years ago, scientists at the UC Davis primate center were confronted with a mysterious and deadly outbreak of infections in their monkeys. Showing signs of weakened immune systems, the monkeys were succumbing to a variety of infections that normally did not cause disease.

At about the same time, a deadly new disease known as AIDS was making the headlines. Bearing a striking resemblance to the monkey syndrome, the human disease also led to opportunistic infections, wasting and death.

Scientists would later discover that the monkey disease, called simian AIDS, was caused by the simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), a close relative of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes human AIDS.

The striking similarities between the human and simian disorders and the viruses that cause them enabled scientists to gain otherwise unobtainable insights into the origins and progression of human AIDS -- work that continues today.

Today, scientists at the UC Davis center are using the SIV monkey model of AIDS to study ways to vaccinate against HIV transmission from adult to adult and from mother to offspring. They are also tackling the problem of eliminating latent virus -- virus that is inactive and "hiding" inside cells in the body -- in individuals taking medications to fight the virus. Finally, they are testing the ability of microbicides to prevent sexual transmission of SIV/HIV.

"The monkey disease is a remarkably accurate facsimile of the human disease," said Gardner.

An authority on retroviruses and the intersection of the simian and human immunodeficiency viruses, Gardner will give the keynote address at the conference, highlighting important contributions of nonhuman primate research to knowledge of AIDS.

According to Gardner, some of the key achievements made by researchers studying immunodeficiency viruses in monkeys include: gaining an in-depth knowledge of the natural history of both the human and simian AIDS viruses, including the potential for and mechanisms of cross-species transmission; demonstrating the feasibility of an AIDS vaccine by showing that monkeys became resistant to simian AIDS when injected with weakened versions of the virus; demonstrating that SIV alone, rather than environmental or other factors, causes simian AIDS; defining the mechanisms of HIV/SIV transmission between hosts; and identifying the role of antibodies and cellular immunity, especially CD8 cells -- a specific immune system component -- in fighting the virus.

The symposium traces its origins to 1983, when about 30 researchers from the then seven U.S. primate research centers met at Tulane University to discuss what was then a poorly understood, spontaneously occurring immunodeficiency syndrome of macaque monkeys. The monkey disease had many strong similarities to AIDS, which was first described in 1981. HIV was first identified in 1983 and SIV in 1985.

Gardner said the founders of the primate centers could never have imagined that monkeys, specifically the Asian rhesus macaque, would play such a critical role in fighting the global AIDS pandemic. Over the past 20 years, AIDS has sickened or killed nearly 40 million people. An estimated 68 million people will have died as a result of AIDS by 2020.

Today, more than half of the research done at the federally funded primate research centers is AIDS-related. In fact, directors of the primate centers maintain they are unable to meet the demand for monkeys for AIDS research and other work because of limited resources. The recent focus on bioterrorism research has further strained an already tight supply.

Patricia Bailey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucdavis.edu/

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Investigators may unlock mystery of how staph cells dodge the body's immune system
22.09.2017 | Cedars-Sinai Medical Center

nachricht Monitoring the heart's mitochondria to predict cardiac arrest?
21.09.2017 | Boston Children's Hospital

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

Im Focus: Quantum Sensors Decipher Magnetic Ordering in a New Semiconducting Material

For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.

Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rainbow colors reveal cell history: Uncovering β-cell heterogeneity

22.09.2017 | Life Sciences

Penn first in world to treat patient with new radiation technology

22.09.2017 | Medical Engineering

Calculating quietness

22.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>