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Scientists In Australia Tout “Potential Cure For AIDS”

David HarrichResearchers in Australia report they’ve learned how to alter a protein in HIV to makes it block replication, rather than spread the virus that eventually leads to AIDS.

“What we’ve actually done is taken a normal virus protein that the virus needs to grow, and we’ve changed this protein, so that instead of assisting the virus, it actually impedes virus replication—and does it quite strongly,” said Associate Professor David Harrich of the Queensland Institute of Medical Research. “I consider that this is fighting fire with fire.”

The modified proteins can’t cure HIV but, as published in Human Gene Therapy, they have protected normal ones from converting under laboratory conditions.

In theory, they would help keep the HIV at bay, and allow the immune system to function normally. Patients would still be HIV-positive but, says Harrich, “this therapy is potentially a cure for AIDS,”

The treatment, a form of  gene therapy involving the patient’s stem cells, could work after a single session.

It’s something of a runaround on a traditional cure: “You either have to eliminate the virus infection or alternatively you have to eliminate the disease process,” says Harrich. “And that’s what this could do, potentially for a very long time.”

Animal testing is scheduled to start later this year.

Do you think  this could be the road to the end of AIDS or just another weapon in the fight? Be heard in the comments section.


On:           Jan 17, 2013
Tagged: , , , , , ,
    • Fidelio

      What a great development in the fight against AIDS, although it creates more questions than answers: Is there damage to, otherwise, healthy proteins when targeting the HIV-replicating protein? After treatment, can we perform a type of dialysis to expunge the impotent genes? Will the HIV virus have to be detected early enough for this treatment to work? It would be great to have a link to where we can read more. Regardless, any weapon against HIV and AIDS is a step in the right direction, towards its eradication.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 2:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark

      “The modified proteins can’t cure HIV but…”
      “this therapy is potentially a cure for AIDS,”

      Really? While it is certainly a wonderful breakthrough, there is a massive difference between allowing an HIV positive individual to love symptom free and actually curing the goddamn disease.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 6:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GayTampaCowboy

      The real question is, will “big pharma” fight behind the scenes to block this treatment!

      I want very much to belive that finding a treatment that in essence, blocks a virus from replicating – thus leaving it present yet inert – would be a huge breakthrough. BUt it would also single the end of HAART treatments and billions of dollars of revenue for drug companies. Is it in their interest to see this treatment made mainstream? NO!

      My hope is that human need and the idea of “do no harm” trumps drug company profits…but i’m dubious.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 10:27 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA

      GayTampaCowboy, I thought the same thing. Cancer treatments are under this same pharmaceutical suspicion. The Insurance companies may like the idea of symptomless HIV(+) patients needing fewer HAART Tx.

      Didn’t an Australian find the cure for ulcers too? The scientist was laughed out of conferences. He drank his own beaker filled with H. pylori and treated his subsequent ulcer with antibiotics. The scientific community stopped laughing at him after that. Way to go Australia.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 11:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • redcarpet

      What happend to that Canadian/Korean company that was touting a regular vaccine developed using traditional vaccine techniques that was going into phase 3 trials with the FDA?

      We have been hearing press release after press release for the last 20 years “We have the CURE” “We may have the cure!” “We have a vaccine!” “Just 3 years away!” blah blah blah.

      Here is a tip: until you have the pill or injection ready for use, shut the fuck up.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam

      If this could cause a persons immune system to behave normally inspite of being infected with HIV, watch for the law suits from the makers of the AIDS drugs to keep the FDA from approving this treatment.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 3:27 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • David Gervais

      If you mean the story I recall, the vaccine was preventative, but only a low rate (~30%), there was more work to be done to make it more broadly effective.
      Notably, its effectiveness, if it works out, is likely to be preventative only, not curative for those already living with HIV.

      The research is valuable, (for any treatment) even if it doesn’t work out, because it expands the knowledge base for others to work on.

      Jan 17, 2013 at 5:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • mariakatrina

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      Jan 7, 2014 at 9:52 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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