HIV Cure: Two New Discoveries - Stripping Viral Load On Host Cells And Saving Infected Cells Against Pyroptosis

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By Ryan Inoyori | December 24, 2013 1:11 PM EST

Scientists have discovered two new breakthroughs regarding HIV viral loads in infected cells. German researchers have successfully stripped the virus from host cells while Gladstone Institutes cracked HIV secret to unlock new treatments.

German Scientists New Success

HIV virus stripping process was developed by biomedical researchers at Dresden Technical University in Germany that involves an enzyme to 'cut' viral load from DNA of infected cells to restore them back.

"There are various methods and similar approaches but removing the virus from infected cells is unique," according to Prof. Joachim Hauber, head of antiviral strategy section at the Hamburg's Heinrich Pette Institute, quoted by Sudan Vision.

This new discovered treatment worked successfully in HIV-infected mice and works by taking blood from infected patients, treating with the special enzyme and transfusing it back to the patients.

This viral 'cutting' enzyme targets stem cells to alter DNA and once reintroduced to the body. These cells would reproduce and eliminate HIV from other infected cells. As a result in mice, the amount of virus was clearly reduced and no longer found in the blood, according to Prof. Hauber.

"It is one of the most exciting things of all. There is a vague hope of cure but that must first be proven," the professor added.

For now, the research must establish clinical trials to determine if the treatment could work in humans.

Major HIV Mystery Cracked

Scientists at Gladstone Institutes, Calif. found a major mystery hidden by HIV and using the cracked code may lead to newer and more effective treatments against the virus.

"We thought HIV infects a cell, sets up a virus production factory and then the cell dies as a consequence of being overwhelmed by virus. But there are not enough factories to explain the massive losses," according to Warner Greene, director of virology and immunology at the Gladstone Institutes, quoted by ETN.

According to Greene and his team, past researchers failed to notice the destructive process used by the body to kill its own cells infected by HIV. They have found out that CD4 T cells in the spleen and tonsil tissue under resting state also get infected but unable to finish the replication process by HIV.

In effect, infected cells with unusual DNA in their cytoplasm triggers immune response, killing them during the process that significantly and massively reduces cell count.

This immune response is called pyroptosis or self-destruction protocol used by the body. Unlike apoptosis in which cells die quietly without any inflammation, pyroptosis causes inflammation using chemicals during death that attracts more T cells, spreading HIV viral components.

"In a bacterial infection, recruiting all these cells might be a good strategy for containing the infection," Greene said explaining the ineffective technique used by the body against HIV. It also explained the high level of inflammation on AIDS.

 "We could see this pyroptotic pathway playing out like nobody's business. In this one snapshot, we could see what we had been working on for eight years," Greene added.

Greene's team also found out that around 95 percent of the cells that die in HIV infections are killed through pyroptosis raising new hope for a new type of treatment. The drug that blocks pyroptosis already exists called VX-765 by Vertex Pharmaceuticals to treat chronic seizure disorder. Although it wasn't effective against the disorder, it has been found safe for humans.

Greene and his team made a solid revelation regarding HIV pathogenesis and may help reduce risk of age-related diseases among AIDS patients who are subject for heart attacks and kidney diseases.

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