New technique could lead to more effective therapies for AIDS
When researchers came up with the powerful cocktail of anti-HIV drugs known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), they hoped they had found a way to finally rid the body of the virus. But they were wrong. The virus instead goes into hiding, dormant and practically undetectable in the body – and impervious to attack. While HAART manages to keep the virus at bay, its still quite capable – given the right opportunity – of replicating and wreaking havoc on the bodys immune system.
Now, virologists at Jefferson Medical College, led by Roger J. Pomerantz, M.D., professor of medicine, biochemistry and molecular pharmacology and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Environmental Medicine at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, may have found a way to bring HIV out of hiding. They have shown that an immune cell protein called interleukin-7 (IL-7) can rouse the virus better than previously tried agents, making it vulnerable to drugs and the bodys immune system. If the new technique proves its mettle, the work could lead to improved treatments for HIV infection, and might be a step toward complete viral eradication.
Steve Benowitz | EurekAlert!
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