While some viruses attack the lungs, and others the blood, HIV attacks the only system that could put up a fight: the immune system itself. The immune system mounts some defense, but after HIV launches its surprise attack, the body simply can't produce enough killer T blood cells to take out the virus.
Now, thanks to researchers at UCLA, it's payback time for the blood cells. A team of scientists have plucked T-cells out of someone infected with HIV, and used them as a template for creating an army of HIV-fighting immune cells out of stem cells. Essentially a genetic vaccine, this technique could be used to copy T-cells designed to fight any virus, opening up the possibility of universal vaccination via stem cell implantation.
Like the plot of an '80s action movie, the scientists take cells fighting the losing battle against HIV out of the body, and into the safety of the lab. Then, in a sequence presumable utilizing a montage and a Kenny Loggins song, they copy the identifying structures those T-cells use to identify HIV, and implant them in stem cells. In the climactic final showdown, after stem cells develop into HIV-targeting T-cells, the T-cell army is reintroduced into the body in sufficient numbers to overwhelm the virus.
So far, the researchers have only attempted the technique in the lab, and have not tested it on actual people. However, this study serves as proof on concept that stem cells can be trained to hunt down and kill specific viruses. They also need to work out the issue of transplantation, as the immune cell surface proteins are individual-specific, and, without the right engineering, they could be rejected like a transplanted organ.
And since this technique could be applied to any virus, HIV is just the beginning: these guys are looking for a sequel. Don't worry -- they'll be back.
....awesome and about time
Wow... This is a great article. I alway's wonderd Why You couldn't just get healthy T-Cells that have been triggerd from someone with the same blood type and inject them into the body of someone who is sick. Like When a tree is dying and you cut off a limb and grafft it to a healthy tree giving it a new life. But this article takes it to another level. Hopefuly this new tecnique is successfull!!!
Well, it's awesome news. That's for sure.
No thanks to Dubya and his anti Stem cell agenda.
Hate to pull politics into the realm of science and all, but that's the truth of the matter.
The article never stated if these were embrionic or adult stem cells, rpenri, so put the torches and pitchforks away for a moment. This is also not proven science yet, only an unproven hypothesis.
It is an interesting idea, but this is hardly the cure for Africa. This is the rich man's cure for HIV. The HIV virus is highly mutative, meaning that it would likely have to be the T-cells of the individual infected, or someone closely infected, in order to fight that strain of HIV (much like the Flu Vaccine has to be reset each year - though it is more like a shotgun blast compared to something this targeted).
So, to avoid rejections, I would think that they would focus on using the patient's own stem cells (if they could be harvested without introducing infection to the culture) or stem cells from someone of compatible type (like kidney donation, but without the shortened lifespan). Keeping a bank of embryonics for every donation type would be far more costly than open adult donation.
Early detection would also be key, as this process would take time and the sooner it was performed, the easier it would be to overwhelm the HIV virus in the person's body.
Ya definately the treatment for rich patients with HIV, not your average run of the mill shot that can take it out. Still it is a step in direction of killing the hiv strain.
You're right, it never did mention if they were embrionic or stem cells
And unfortunately, you're right again. This is no insta-cure for Africa. Even if engineered, it will take years to actually say we have destroyed the HIV and cured AIDS. Even with resetting it constantly. That's why we don't have a vaccine for the common cold: it is frequently changing.
Not to mention the amount of money it would take to engineer enough vaccine to cure enough people.
You're right. It is a step to a better future, sorta.
Here's hoping for an overpopulated planet!!! hooray!
Could take what they learn here and apply it to cancer too, since cancer is mutated genes in the first place.
They are working on something very much like this for cancer. it is called imuno-therapy.
1 take a biopsy of tumor
2 Extract wbc(white blood cells) fighting in the tumor
3 Clone them (maybe increase TNF output or another attack vector in the cloned WBCs')
4 Re-inject into the patient
5 Run a fever and high wbc count for a little while
6 dead tumor.
That is the theory anyway but this article shows that the science is there to achieve the goal.
Downside is this will only work on tumor style cancers others will require differing treatment vectors.
\Science is Awesome.
I was kinda looking at the possiblity of using the cancer cells themselves to fight the cancer, you know like making a defective cell that quickly speards to surrounding cells, but dies in the presents of something, hell maybe chocolate. Kinda like they are working with in the bacteria to oil article.
Stem cell research/medicine is amazing - and finding a cure to HIV is clearly high on the list. But am I the only one that saw TCell and though Resident Evil? Can Stem Cells create the next super...destructive life form?
Also thank you for the visual of pitch forks and torches.
For women they may try harvesting stem cells from menstrual blood.