Aids is a virus caused by HIV, which is a virus that over time, attacks the immune system cells. HIV damages the cells, and this makes it more difficult to fight infection. At this point, a person is said to have developed AIDS. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for HIV, but there are new breakthrough treatments that give hope to those suffering with AIDS.
Researchers reveal a 3-D structure of a virus has the potential to help fight HIV and cancer.
The vesicular stomatitis virus, VSV, has been the model system for studying and understanding the negative life-cycle of negative-strands of RNA viruses. This virus is the known cause of influenza, rabies and measles. Researchers have discovered that VSV has the potential to be genetically modified to serve as a potential vaccine against AIDS. It has also shown to serve as an anti-cancer agent, by being able to selectively kill cancer cells, while at the same time sparing the healthy cells. For further modification, scientist need an accurate picture of the virus structure. Researchers at UCLA’s California NanoSystem Institute and UCLA Department of Microbiology Immunology and Molecular Genetics, along with colleagues, have developed and revealed the 3-D structure of the trunk section of VSV. Based on their research of the structure of VSV, they have now proposed a model for the assembly of the virus with its origins as the bullet tips. This structure enables the first visualization of the N and M proteins inside the VSV, and has discovered it has a highly ordered particle. Their findings could lead to the advanced development of an VSV-based vaccines for HIV and other deadly viruses.
Using stem cell therapy gives promise to help tackle HIV.
This discovery could help improve the quality of life and life expectancy for those who have HIV. Professor Berkhout from the University of Amsterdam has discovered a gene therapy that has long-lasting effects. This treatment involves delivering antiviral DNA to the patient’s own immune cells that protect them from this viral disease. This gives hope and an alternative treatment for AIDS patients that can no longer be treated with the normal antivirals. This treatment involves taking and purifying blood stem cells from the patient’s bone marrow in a laboratory, then the cells are re-injected into the body. Transferring the antiviral DNA to stem cells would help in restoring a large part of the patient’s immune system. The group hopes that trials for this treatment will begin within three years. At the present time, they have had promising results obtained in the laboratory. They are now conducting testing safety in preclinical mouse-models.
A research team had a major breakthrough that may help develop a new HIV drug treatment.
A research team from the Imperial College in London and Harvard University have grown a crystal that reveals the structure of an enzyme called integrase. This is found in retroviruses like HIV. When a person becomes infected with HIV, it uses integrase to paste a copy of its genetic information into the person’s DNA. While conducting this study, researchers grew the crystals using a version of integrase that was borrowed from a PVS cell. There were over 40,000 trials, in which they were only able to produce seven types of crystals. Out of those crystals, only one crystal had enough quality to allow determination of their dimensional structure. Researchers later studied the crystal using a large synchrotron machine. This allowed them to determine the long-sought structure. Researchers soaked the crystal in a solution of the integrase inhibiting drugs Raltegravir and Elvitegravir. Researchers were able to observe for the first time how these antiretroviral drugs bind to and inactivate integrase.
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