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Is the HIV vaccine on its way?

Researchers have developed a vaccine that seems to have the capability of completely clearing an AIDS-causing virus from the body. The promising vaccine candidate that is being developed at OHSU s Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute is being tested through the use of a non-human primate form of HIV, called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV, which causes AIDS in monkeys.

Louis Picker, M.D., associate director of the OHSU Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute, said that the latest research suggests that certain immune responses elicited by a new vaccine may also have the ability to completely remove HIV from the body.

The Picker lab s approach involves the use of cytomegalovirus, or CMV, a common virus already carried by a large percentage of the population. In short, the researchers discovered that pairing CMV with SIV had a unique effect. (Also read: New vaccine design promises production of HIV vaccine)

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They found that a modified version of CMV engineered to express SIV proteins generates and indefinitely maintains so-called 'effector memory' T-cells that are capable of searching out and destroying SIV-infected cells.

T-cells are a key component of the body s immune system, which fights off disease, but T-cells elicited by conventional vaccines of SIV itself are not able to eliminate the virus.

The SIV-specific T-cells elicited by the modified CMV were different. About 50 percent of monkeys given highly pathogenic SIV after being vaccinated with this vaccine became infected with SIV but over time eliminated all trace of SIV from the body.

In effect, the hunters of the body were provided with a much better targeting system and better weapons to help them find and destroy an elusive enemy. The research has been published today by the journal Nature.

Should we be optimistic or cautious? This isn't the first time that we've been presented with tales of that an HIV cure is on its way. The most famous of them are:

The Berlin Patient

For a long time researchers believed there was no cure. Even five years ago a scientist who wanted to work on HIV cure research was laughed at. But all that changed with Timothy Brown aka the Berlin Patient. Brown an HIV-positive man who developed leukaemia. After first-line cancer treatments failed, a bone marrow transplant procedure was done. Two transplants later, not only was his leukaemia in remission, his immune system actually managed to ward off HIV. Brown no longer takes antiretroviral drugs or tests positive for HIV. Essentially, he was cured. Read more...

Bee venom to cure HIV?

A study suggested that bee venom might have the potency to kill the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Researchers at the Washington University School of Medicine had demonstrated that a toxin called melittin which is found in bee venom is the reason for this. The researchers used nanoparticle technology to target the virus. Particles smaller than HIV were infused with bee venom and since HIV cells are smaller than normal body cells the nanoparticles only targeted HIV.

Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope, said research instructor Joshua L. Hood, MD, PhD. The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus. Adding, We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV. Theoretically, there isn t any way for the virus to adapt to that. The virus has to have a protective coat, a double-layered membrane that covers the virus.

Stem cell therapy to overcome HIV?

In a path-breaking breakthrough two American are believed to have overcome HIV after undergoing stem-cell therapy! The news has met with widespread elation with experts believing that a cure might be on the cards. Doctors from the Brigham and Women s Hospital in Boston announced on Wednesday night that two previously HIV-positive patients no longer had detectable virus levels in their blood or tissue after having bone marrow stem-cell transplants to treat cancer between two and four years ago, the Age reported. Read more...

Aggressive antiretroviral treatment - The Mississippi baby case

There were reports in March 2013 of a toddler who was completely cured of the virus after being born of it. She has been cured of the disease after following an aggressive regime of drugs. This was the second documented case of a person being completely cured of the virus after an adult known as the Berlin Patient was cured as a result of bone-marrow transplant. This startling piece of information was discovered when the baby s mother stopped treatment and doctors lost track of the baby who was given a bout of heavy drugs (current procedure suggests only a modest daily dose of antiretroviral treatment) about 30 hours after she was born at a rural Mississippi hospital, doctors said at a medical meeting in Atlanta. However, a doctor poured cold water on cold water on what was termed the greatest medical breakthrough of the century .

In his piece, Dr Siedner pointed out in his column, exposure to HIV doesn t mean that the baby will have HIV. We will likely never know if those cells were from the child or maternal cell that has been transmitted during pregnancy or birth. When a child is born, he or she has some maternal cells in his system so it s impossible to tell whether the child actually had HIV or not, or the tests detected the maternal HIV positive cells.

What is HIV/AIDS?

HIV/AIDS is a disease that affects the human immune system. AIDS is the final stage of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection. If an HIV positive person is left untreated, his/her condition deteriorates into full-blown AIDS where the immune system stops working. Thus the immune system is unable to protect the person from diseases or infections. The virus can be transmitted from an HIV positive person through the exchange of body fluids. This can happen through sexual contact, blood transfusion, needles or from a mother to child during pregnancy. Though there is no cure yet, antiretroviral treatment has proven to be very effective. (Read more..)

Source: DNA

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