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Scientists find gene that could help body cure itself of HIV

Discussion in 'Media, Interviews, Blogs, Talks, Events about XMRV' started by Diva55, Feb 4, 2011.

  1. Diva55

    Diva55 Member

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    This article was in The Daily Mail (UK newspaper) today.

    Maybe it could fit with XMRV or even CFS / ME / FM.

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    Scientists find gene that could help body cure itself of HIV
    By Fiona Macrae
    Last updated at 11:19 AM on 4th February 2011

    Scientists may have found a way for the body to cure itself of HIV.
    In a series of tantalising experiments, they were able to harness the immune system to such an extent that it defeated the virus and completely removed it from the body.

    While there have been advances in treating the condition, the viruss remarkable ability to outwit the immune system means that the recipe for a cure has so far eluded even the worlds best scientists.

    New hope: Scientists may have found a way to cure AIDS

    The latest experiments were carried out in mice but the researchers believe they raise the possibility of a cure, not only for HIV but for other long-term infections, including hepatitis B and C and tuberculosis.

    A lot of the work into finding a cure for these illnesses has focussed on trying to use the immune system to gradually eliminate the virus or bacterium.

    But the latest research, funded by the Australian and Canadian governments, suggests that a short, sharp shock is far more effective.

    Dr Marc (CORR) Pellegrini, of the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute said: Viruses such as HIV and hepatitis B and C overwhelm the immune system, leading to establishment of chronic infections that are lifelong and incurable.

    Despite tremendous efforts, long-lived immune responses for some of these viruses are ineffective, because the body is so overrun by virus that the immune system just give up trying to battle the infection.

    Some people have coined the phrase immune exhaustion to explain the phenomenon.

    Breakthrough: the research centres on a gene called SOCS-3 which has a strong reaction to overwhelming infections (file photo)

    Our approach is to discover some of the mechanisms that cause this immune exhaustion, and manipulate host genes to see if we can boost the natural immune response in order to beat infection.
    The breakthrough centres on a gene called SOCS-3.

    When faced with an overwhelming infection such as HIV, the gene becomes highly active and slams the brakes on the immune response, allowing the virus to persist.

    When the researchers boosted levels of a hormone called IL-7, the gene switched off and mice were able to gradually remove HIV from their bodies, the journal Cell reports.

    Dr Pellegrini said the research had provided excellent ideas for new therapies that could target and boost host immune cells called T cells to fight disease, rather than targeting the disease itself.

    The findings could help to develop drugs that target some of these host molecules, such as SOCS-3, and turn them off for very short, defined periods of time to reinvigorate the T cells, allowing them to regroup to fight infection, he said.

    An estimated 86,500 Britons are living with HIV, including more than 21,000 who are unaware of their infection.

     
  2. Enid

    Enid Senior Member

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    Thanks Diva55 - stunning news with implications for us too.
     
  3. Nielk

    Nielk

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    Amazing news!

    The way they describe it:


    [When faced with an overwhelming infection such as HIV, the gene becomes highly active and slams the brakes on the immune response, allowing the virus to persist.

    When the researchers boosted levels of a hormone called IL-7, the gene ‘switched off’ and mice were able to gradually remove HIV from their bodies, the journal Cell reports.]

    it sounds just like what's happening in our bodies.
    Could this, when developed, become a cure for us?
     
  4. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Member

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    Diva55, thanks for posting this exciting research.

    Nielk, anyone able to contact Dr.Pellegrini to ask him if an XMRV mouse model could be used to test this IL-7 technique as he did for HIV?
     
  5. Diva55

    Diva55 Member

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    I was attracted to the "immune exhaustion" idea as that seems a good explanation for us.

    I did wonder if LDN might fit into the puzzle in some form as in theory that moderates the immune system to enable it to fight but obviously doesn't target specific as this seems to do.

    But to be able to switch off specific host molecules and allow cells to do their bit & fight sounds incredible.
     
  6. Jemal

    Jemal Senior Member

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    It could be this gene isn't working properly for us? I have the feeling many of our symptoms are caused by the immune system waging a constant war with an infection (XMRV?). It might not know when to quit... so the gene could already be "off" for us.
     
  7. sickness

    sickness

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  8. redo

    redo Senior Member

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    Great find Diva55.

    I think this may be highly relevant for us.

    In the WPI paper (here) they found that IL-7 was up regulated with those who had CFS (the study isn't that large, or repeated by others, but albeit that, interesting to see IL-7 abnormalities).

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps IL-7 is up regulated in CFS as an attempt to fight off an infection? But it wont work properly until the values goes up a lot more?

    Just to make it clear IL-7, means interleukin 7.

    When patients (with RA) are given Rituximab their interleukin levels go through the roof. They get a 100 fold increase in IL-8. How it affects their IL-7 levels is unknown (if anyone have medline access, then please check this study for IL-7).

    Might it be that high IL-7 levels are key to fight this off?

    I know nobody knows for sure, but please do speculate.
     

    Attached Files:

  9. Gemini

    Gemini Senior Member

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    Redo,

    Good information, thanks for posting.

    Link to Dr. Pellegrini and his lab:

    http://www.wehi.edu.au/faculty_members/dr_marc_pellegrini

    Perhaps a mod can combine this thread with the same topic in Other Research?
     

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