Hey there Guys,
Exciting news in the science world today, with the discovery that an older chemotherapy drug, vorinostat, is able to help flush out HIV hiding within cells.
One of the biggest issues currently with HIV is the concept of “latent virus”. When a cell becomes infected by the HIV virus, the genetic code of the virus is able to incorporate into the DNA of the actual cell. DNA is the blueprint of the cell that instructs the cell what to do. Once inside the DNA HIV is able to turn the cell into a virus creation factory.
While the virus sits hiding inside the cell’s DNA it is invisible to the immune system and also to the drugs used to treat HIV.
Reported in Discover Magazine:
HIV is an exceptional adversary. It is more diverse than any other virus, and it attacks the very immune cells that are meant to destroy it. If that wasn’t bad enough, it also has a stealth mode. The virus can smuggle its genes into those of long-lived white blood cells, and lie dormant for years. This “latent” form doesn’t cause disease, but it’s also invisible to the immune system and to anti-HIV drugs. This viral reservoir turns HIV infection into a life sentence.
When the virus awakens, it can trigger new bouts of infection – a risk that forces HIV patients to stay on treatments for life. It’s clear that if we’re going to cure HIV for good, we need some way of rousing these dormant viruses from their rest and eliminating them.
A team of US scientists led by David Margolis has found that vorinostat – a drug used to treat lymphoma – can do exactly that. It shocks HIV out of hiding. While other chemicals have disrupted dormant HIV within cells in a dish, this is the first time that any substance has done the same thing in actual people.
While early studies are hopeful there is still a long way to go with this treatment. What this research shows is an exciting new way we may be able to eliminate and lower HIV virus levels in what was always thought to be an “untouchable” space for drugs and other treatments.
Yours in great health.
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