View Full Version : Breakthrough In HIV Research: A Vaccine/Cure May Be In Sight!
07-10-2010, 03:21 AM
Several people very close to me, including a very dear loved one in particular, are living with HIV. I'd assume at least a few of you know people people affected as well. If this belongs in PI, my apologies.
A discovery of three antibodies that neutralize 91% of HIV strains has the potential to possibly lead to a future vaccine, according to an article published inSciencemagazine.
This part made me laugh though, basically meaning now ALL gay men and even most women these days, would have to be dependent on a pill to prevent infection, a small price to pay, but none the less, the drug companies are drug companies.
Theorized methods of implementation for the antibody vaccine include a raw form drug, a "microbicide" gel to be applied before sexual intercourse, and a stimulant that would cause the immune system to produce the antibodies before infection. The discovery also holds the possibility for boosting the effectiveness of already-existing HIV treatment medication.
07-10-2010, 05:07 AM
CCR5-delta32 (double copy)
There's your cure, find a way to insert it into a patient's immune system, OR figure a way to cause a double mutation in an otherwise normal CCR5 pair, and patient becomes immune to HIV (and the bubonic plague).
For real, if I were a medical researcher (big IF, btw) I'd look into that.
07-10-2010, 05:41 AM
Godspeed to them.
07-10-2010, 12:00 PM
HIV uses CCR5 and CXCR4 receptors as entryways. There is currently one pill R5 inhibitor and an injectable X4 inhibitor on the market, more being worked on. Patients test via Trofile Assay if their tropism is R5, dual/mixed, or X4. The entry inhibitors are used in combination with 2 NRTIs as a regimen.
I've read about the CCR5-d32 mutation, but haven't read enough to know why exactly that would make a person immune, as there is the CXCR4 receptor. Perhaps that is because the common HIV-1 tropism in "Western" countries usually starts out as R5, but that doesn't account for much of the rest of the world. Of course there is the one "German case" where an HIV positive man had a bone marrow transplant with a donation from a man with the CCR5-d32 mutation, and years later, he's still "undetectable" without medication.
The linked article is super short and not specific, but I've read articles with similar headlines in the past. There are some drugs in already covered classes in development, drugs for other parts of the replication process in development, and other completely different approaches being looked at, which is great, but I think one of the big worries of the last CROI (http://retroconference.org/2010/) is that there can always be more funding, and there are always exterior reasons why some potentials aren't explored. Sorry if that's vague.
In general, what's happening in the medical HIV community right now is that doctor's are recommending earlier medication, and there's worry that not as much drug development and research is happening as needed.
Right now we're approaching medication where it's a "functional cure" of medicating to low virulence, and with good adherence and luck, enough medicine options to last through a "normal" lifespan. Basically, it's staving off the virus for a long time, but not completely eliminating it. Uh, to be more specific, anti-virals currently get patients to "undetectable" (<50 copies per ml) virus levels, but there are parts in the body that virus (which replicates and mutates super quickly) hides - i.e. the brain, the gut - and becomes latent. So it begs the question as to what a "cure" really means - perhaps it just means eventually having "undetectable" virulence without further medication, but who knows what happens then. Of course another topic is what other damage HIV does to the body in regard to inflammation and damage of systems, which all have a chain reaction effect, etc. Really interesting topic, as it relates to other virology theory.
One of the main places to read about it: thebody.com (http://www.thebody.com/)
Also: aidsinfo.nih.gov (http://aidsinfo.nih.gov)
a vaccine or cure could not come soon enough.
07-10-2010, 10:35 PM
At first I was thinking, "Oh, this is more mainstream media BS like that Chinese article years ago talking about HIV DNA" but Science is pretty legit.
Now, why isn't this in Nature, is my next question. :lol:
I'm not familiar with immunology so I really can't say how easy getting to the next step is. Considering people have been pounding at this for years and years, I'd say pretty difficult.
And also consider that for every paper published, there are probably 100 paper-worth amounts of research that people are trying to get out, and hundreds of approaches that didn't go anywhere. Scientists are VERY hush-hush about what they're doing until publication time. Just because you don't hear about it in the media, doesn't mean that scientists aren't pursuing it.
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