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Australian Scientists Discover Potential Aids Cure

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the saving-lives dept.

Medicine 232

smi.james.th writes "Several sites report that Australian researcher David Harrich and his team have potentially discovered a way to stop HIV becoming AIDS and ultimately cure the disease. From the article: '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.' This could potentially hail one of modern medicine's greatest victories."

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232 comments

Let us celebrate.. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623355)

Let us celebrate with a trip to the brothel!

Re:Let us celebrate.. (4, Insightful)

Cryacin (657549) | about a year ago | (#42623387)

Let's all hope for the public's sake that this does not turn out to be another "cure for AIDS", as has been heralded many times over the last decade.

Besides that, there are plenty of other nasty, nasty diseases that you can catch apart from AIDS, such as Hepatitis C for instance. It would be interesting to see infection rates of other STD's increase if there isn't a fear disease like AIDS out there to promote the use of prophylactics.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623421)

RTFA, Best case senario is that its as good as what we already have ( the multi drug cocktail), but with a single drug.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (5, Insightful)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#42623545)

Actually, it has the potential to be much better than current treatments though it wouldn't actually be a cure. IF (and as always it's a big if) it really forces HIV to become latent, the patient would have a normal immune system and probably fewer side effects than with current drugs.

But it wouldn't be a cure, just a very effective lifelong treatment.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (1)

icebike (68054) | about a year ago | (#42623593)

That about sums it up as best I can tell from the article.

Its a different approach to than that used by most of the other drugs in that (if they can be believed)
they have found one protein that is critical in many different stages in the virus life cycle.

Yet to be seen is if people can tolerate the drug, and any side effects.

I wonder if this protein is so central to HIV that it can't mutate around it, and how they can eliminate
any natural occurring versions (the ones they haven't fiddled with) of this protein so that theirs is
the only one available.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (3, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#42623679)

But it wouldn't be a cure, just a very effective lifelong treatment.

And probably expensive. Why offer a one-time cure when you can offer a life-time treatment - he said cynically.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (4, Insightful)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42623805)

IF (and as always it's a big if) it really forces HIV to become latent, the patient would still be a host even when having a normal immune system

FTFY

Re:Let us celebrate.. (2)

sjames (1099) | about a year ago | (#42623909)

"Latent" and "wouldn't be a cure" already covered that.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624521)

"Latent" and "wouldn't be a cure" already covered that.

Implicitly, yes. An explicit conclusion has still some added value

Re:Let us celebrate.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623915)

Not a cure but a very effective lifelong treatment ?

Even more profit !

Re:Let us celebrate.. (1)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#42624375)

Unfortunately, the scientists that came up with this solution weren't thinking of profit, as the article states...

If clinical trials are successful, one treatment could be effective enough to replace the multiple therapies they currently need.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (1)

adamchou (993073) | about a year ago | (#42624363)

it wouldn't actually be a cure

How would it not be a cure if it stops the virus from replicating? The existing virus in the body would eventually die off, thus leaving no more infection.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624493)

AFAIU it doesn't kill the infected cells. Stop treatment, and those cells will start producing new copies of the virus again.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (3, Informative)

kilodelta (843627) | about a year ago | (#42623463)

This isn't so much a cure but it does arm the body with immune cells that are resistant to infection. That's a big deal. You'd still be HIV positive but the disease would never develop into the syndrome.

They're basically using elements of regenerative medicine here.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623589)

This in no way arms the body with immune cells that are resistant to infection. This is a virostatic agent, that will stop the virus from replicating inside immune cells. But it does not block free virus from infecting new cells.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (5, Insightful)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#42623579)

The trouble is that there *have* been a number of cures/vaccines, but HIV mutates so quickly that they were quickly rendered ineffective. HIV can differ significantly even between somebody and the person they were infected by, all depending on how their immune system responds to the infection and what drugs they are given.

Re:Let us celebrate.. (4, Informative)

mrbluze (1034940) | about a year ago | (#42623817)

The trouble is that there *have* been a number of cures/vaccines, but HIV mutates so quickly that they were quickly rendered ineffective. HIV can differ significantly even between somebody and the person they were infected by, all depending on how their immune system responds to the infection and what drugs they are given.

The difference here is that the treatment targets several stages of the HIV "life-cycle". In micribiology targeting a single point of weakness of an organism is relatively quickly circumvented, but targeting many points of weakness has a much more devastating effect.

BUT YOU DON'T GET IT! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623627)

The researcher is AUSTRALIAN!

That makes this News for nerds, stuff that matters.

Re:BUT YOU DON'T GET IT! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623691)

The researcher is AUSTRALIAN!

That makes this News for nerds, stuff that matters.

But is he?

Many times we've seen a much trumpeted discovery or whatever by an Australian, only for the "Australian" involved to turn out to be an English, American or other nationality scientist.

Take Brian Schmidt. Just about everyone I know came in their undies when they heard an "Australian" astronomer had won a Nobel prize. They simply did not want to know that he was an American who had moved to Australia only relatively recently after marrying an Aussie.

Now I'm not saying the scientist involved in this instance is not Australian, but I would like to know it's true before I start leaping about and waving the flag.

Re:BUT YOU DON'T GET IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623767)

FFS, Schmidt is Australian! How hard is it to look up?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brian_Schmidt

There, see? Now you can feel proud again.

Re:BUT YOU DON'T GET IT! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623961)

Um... Doesn't that WP article actually prove you wrong while corroborating just about everything the GP said?

From the linked FA in your own post:

Schmidt, an only child, was born on February 24, 1967, in Missoula, Montana, where his father Dana C. Schmidt was a fisheries biologist. When he was 13, his family relocated to Anchorage, Alaska.

Schmidt attended Bartlett High School in Anchorage, Alaska, and graduated in 1985. He has said that he wanted to be a meteorologist "since I was about five-years-old" but "... I did some work at the USA National Weather Service up in Anchorage and didn't enjoy it very much. It was less scientific, not as exciting as I thought it would be—there was a lot of routine. But I guess I was just a little naive about what being a meteorologist meant." His decision to study astronomy, which he had seen as "a minor pastime", was made just before he enrolled at university. He earned his BS (Physics) and BS (Astronomy) from the University of Arizona in 1989. He received his MA (Astronomy) in 1992 and then PhD (Astronomy) in 1993 from Harvard University. Schmidt's PhD thesis was supervised by Robert Kirshner and used Type II Supernovae to measure the Hubble Constant.

At Harvard, he met his future wife, the Australian (Jenny) Jennifer M. Gordon who was a PhD student in economics. In 1994, he moved to Australia.

So, Australian citizenship or not (I assume he has it by now), it's kind of a stretch to accurately describe the guy as Australian.

Re:BUT YOU DON'T GET IT! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623965)

Birth Certificate or GTFO!

Re:Let us celebrate.. (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | about a year ago | (#42624323)

As soon as I saw the word 'cure' I knew this was hyped up, because in all of mans history we have never once found a cure for any virus, ever.

We do 3 things with regards to viruses:

1) Vaccination - Keep you from getting it to begin with. 2) Elimination - If nobody gets it for a long enough period of time, it (mostly) disappears.
3) Symptom management - we can't cure you of the virus, but we can reduce the symptoms until (if/when) your body figures out how to deal with it itself.

Never have we been able to produce any drug that will cure you of any virus in your system. The chance that AIDS would be the first virus to be cured seems a little far fetched given that it eventually directly attacks the immune system - this is a virus that has evolved to preemptively attack the one and only thing known to be able to eliminate viruses in a biological system.

No more AIDS jokes... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623359)

Yay!

So I no longer need to... (1)

dohzer (867770) | about a year ago | (#42623379)

... use condoms?

Re:So I no longer need to... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623397)

fuck condoms YOLO

Children will no longer need to be circumcised. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623401)

Not that they needed to be in the first place. They don't give young women mastectomies just to prevent them from getting breast cancer, you know?

Re:Children will no longer need to be circumcised. (1, Interesting)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about a year ago | (#42623531)

Trials here in South Africa showed that circumcision reduced the HIV infection rate [mrc.ac.za], because apparently the skin on the inside of the foreskin is more porous, therefore without it there was less of a gap for the virus to get in. This only works one-way, naturally, and it's not 100%, but while no cure was in sight, I think it's better than doing nothing.

Re:Children will no longer need to be circumcised. (1)

dadelbunts (1727498) | about a year ago | (#42623595)

We should just go ahead and cut the head of the penis off, since its more porous than the rest.

Re:Children will no longer need to be circumcised. (3, Insightful)

Xenkar (580240) | about a year ago | (#42624345)

I'm pretty sure those trials were ended early and the lower infection rate was mostly due to guys not engaging in sexual activities while they healed from the procedure. Afterwards they probably also noticed their sexual pleasure being reduced as the foreskin has a great deal of nerves and protects the head of the penis.

I never knew the greatness of foreskin due to doctors and my parents decided something that should have been left up to me to decide, but these guys will probably regret their decision.

So what's wrong with the tried and true method of not engaging in sexual activities with everything that moves?

Re:So I no longer need to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623427)

If you're male, and you're positive that the girl does not have your number, sure--go wild and generate as many babies as you like, bonehead.

Re:So I no longer need to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623523)

...and enjoy your 30% higher chance of chance of contracting type II herpes.

Re:So I no longer need to... (1)

flimflammer (956759) | about a year ago | (#42623667)

If you don't care about herpes or one of the many other sexually transmitted diseases, sure. Knock yourself out.

Re:So I no longer need to... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623861)

Yeah, Because condoms only are used to not get AIDS. They have no other purposes whatsoever.

This will never get approved (2, Insightful)

santax (1541065) | about a year ago | (#42623391)

I might be slightly paranoid and I hope I am wrong, but why would big pharmacy want to produce this? They have a choice between selling someone a whole life really expensive medicines (well not to make, but to buy) or cure him... I am just going to assume that this method will be deemed 'unsafe'.

Re:This will never get approved (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623429)

A big contributing factor toward why Australia's medical research is so strong at an international scale is the fact it's often academic and/or ultimately government funded.

The Australian government doesn't care about big pharma (which doesn't have an especially large presence in AU, relatively speaking) making profits, it cares about better health care for it's people, so they live longer, work longer, and pay more taxes.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

santax (1541065) | about a year ago | (#42623457)

OK, thanks for clearing that up. (can't believe I say thanks to an AC ;) )

Re:This will never get approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623657)

I thank people for not registering on Slashdot all the time.

Re:This will never get approved (5, Informative)

mjwx (966435) | about a year ago | (#42623785)

A big contributing factor toward why Australia's medical research is so strong at an international scale is the fact it's often academic and/or ultimately government funded.

The Australian government doesn't care about big pharma (which doesn't have an especially large presence in AU, relatively speaking) making profits, it cares about better health care for it's people, so they live longer, work longer, and pay more taxes.

Big Pharma are around, I used to work next to the Pfizer factory in Perth but they have three huge hindrances in Australia.

1. They aren't allowed to advertise prescription medicine.
2. They aren't allowed to offer payola to doctors for using their drugs. Both the doctor and the company get busted if they get caught.
3. Generics are readily available. Instead of buying Panadol (Tylanol) I can get Brand X paracetamol/codeine which is the same recipe but 1/4 the price. The same is true for most prescription drugs.

Re:This will never get approved (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#42623835)

1. They aren't allowed to advertise prescription medicine.
2. They aren't allowed to offer payola to doctors for using their drugs. Both the doctor and the company get busted if they get caught.

You've just described the developed world... except for the USA and New Zealand.
Everyone else has strong limitations on direct-to-consumer-advertising, or an outright ban.

3. Generics are readily available. Instead of buying Panadol (Tylanol) I can get Brand X paracetamol/codeine which is the same recipe but 1/4 the price. The same is true for most prescription drugs.

As it turns out, generics aren't necessarily equivalent to the original perscription drug.
Since it's late, you get the first article I found on Google [medpagetoday.com]
It's a fair representation of the other articles I've read on the subject.

The TLDR version is that generics don't always make the same amount of drug available to the patient
and even if they do, the drug may not be released in the same fashion, leading to early or late peaks of the drug.

Re:This will never get approved (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623959)

Actually AFAIK, in order for a drug to be a generic variant of the originator, it has to be within the specified limits of it's bioavailability. In other words, the generic drug has to be bioequivalent to the originator's, meaning the amount that gets into the blood stream and the peak time need to be nearly the same. Otherwise the drug won't be aproved as a generic drug by FDA, EMA (or any other org.) and one would have to make clinical trials (which as you probably know cost a LOT) in order to be able to sell it.

Re:This will never get approved (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624397)

Please note that this is not in contradiction to TubeSteaks reference:

Bioavailability of generic versions of epilepsy drugs was generally similar to that of their branded counterparts, but not so much when supposedly bioequivalent products were compared with each other, researchers said.

So if the generics are epsilon close to the orignal, they may (and arcoding to the article do) differ by 2epsilon from each other...

Re:This will never get approved (2)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624263)

All that anti-generic work is funded by pharma companies whos drugs are coming off patent. Bioavailability and pharmacokinetics are obviously important issues for a drug, and many companies spend a long time trying to get these right with modified relase and long acting versions etc, but once they come off patent all that work has usually been done.

Re:This will never get approved (5, Interesting)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#42623983)

Protip: Medicines with the same Product License Number are the same. The number has to be printed on the packaging. If you compare various over-the-counter painkillers, for example, you will find that the cheap own-brand ones, the branded ones, the fast actions ones, the long lasting ones and the premium max strength ones all have the same Product License Number and are in fact exactly the same.

Re:This will never get approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624309)

it's kinda funny, you guys laugh at our out of control medical costs but never seem to realize - Big Pharma is forced to amortize their entire R&D budget in the only country that lets them get away with it.

Re:This will never get approved (4, Insightful)

wvmarle (1070040) | about a year ago | (#42623885)

Healthy people do not just pay more taxes (which is a nice side effect, but then far from everyone pays taxes), they cost a lot less in the long run on health care. Which is the main reason many governments try to stop people from smoking, for example. And which is one of the reasons they promote sports and general exercise.

Re:This will never get approved (3, Informative)

stymy (1223496) | about a year ago | (#42624377)

Actually, not all of what you said is true. Most of the costs associated with health care are incurred at the end of a person's life, and things like retirement homes, long stays at hospitals, and whatnot cost a fortune in the first world. Tobacco taxes cost the NHS about 5 billion pounds a year (source:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8086142.stm), while tobacco taxes bring in over 12 billion pounds a year (source:http://www.the-tma.org.uk/tma-publications-research/facts-figures/tax-revenue-from-tobacco/). The truth is that smokers die young and pay thousands of dollars a year in taxes, so they actually subsidize healthcare for other people. Governments promote health because that's one of the purposes of governments, and healthy people are more productive, but unhealthy people come cheaper for socialized healthcare and social insurance, such as government pensions.

Re:This will never get approved (4, Insightful)

mandginguero (1435161) | about a year ago | (#42623433)

It doesn't matter if it isn't approved. If there is a mechanism published in the science literature to treat the disease, someone will be able to experiment with it in another country. Think about some of the African/Asian countries who have said to hell with Western patents on drug formulas and make their own. If a country can produce these compounds then they most likely have the means to run clinical trials.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

santax (1541065) | about a year ago | (#42623469)

That is actually a very valid point.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

mandginguero (1435161) | about a year ago | (#42623519)

The problem, as alluded in AC's reply above, is when a pharmaceutical employed scientist makes the discovery and can't publish it in peer or public access journals. As this is through a national research institute, further funding and publications are likely forthcoming.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

smi.james.th (1706780) | about a year ago | (#42623547)

Yes, exactly. For one thing, here in South Africa, where the government sponsors a lot of AIDS medication, if there was a cure it would save a heck of a lot of money to them, so they would probably even fund production of a cure if it was proved to be viable.

Re:This will never get approved (-1, Troll)

npridgeon (784063) | about a year ago | (#42623435)

I'd agree. It's the same reason they will never cure cancer.

Re:This will never get approved (4, Informative)

Suhas (232056) | about a year ago | (#42623571)

Cancer is not one disease but many many diseases under the same banner. In fact, the same type of cancer can be completely different diseases in different people.
See here. [phdcomics.com]
I would suggest you refrain from making idiotic remarks about subjects you have no clue about.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

ClickOnThis (137803) | about a year ago | (#42623689)

Cancer is not one disease but many many diseases under the same banner. In fact, the same type of cancer can be completely different diseases in different people.

Just because cancer is a category for many different diseases does not mean we can't cure them one at a time. An emerging technology that could change the outcome for cancer patients is DNA sequencing of tumor vs. healthy cells to determine precisely which medication is effective for treating a specific kind of cancer. Such DNA sequencing is dropping rapidly in price, and is likely to make its way into clinics soon.

See here. [phdcomics.com]
I would suggest you refrain from making idiotic remarks about subjects you have no clue about.

Point taken, but I''m not sure you make a good case when you cite a comic.

Re:This will never get approved (2)

Suhas (232056) | about a year ago | (#42623795)

> I''m not sure you make a good case when you cite a comic.
Are you even remotely familiar with what PHDComics is? Based on your tendency to reject content based on form, you limit the knowlegde that you can obtain. Open your eyes.

Re:This will never get approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623923)

Ok, you're one of these horrible people you only meet on the internet, aren't you?

I bet you're really ok in real life, but here, you come across as someone who's found a place to let out all their shittiness. Especially when the other poster was clearly being rather civil.

If you adopted a less sanctimonious tone, you'd come across as less of a dick.... but perhaps that's not your goal...

Re:This will never get approved (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#42624279)

Curing each cancer individually is the same thing as curing each patient individually because almost every person's cancer is caused by a different mutation, particularly once it really gets going, when it mutates like crazy due to the fast, unregulated divisions.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

Belial6 (794905) | about a year ago | (#42623813)

I don't know what you are talking about. I personally know at least half a dozen people that have been cured of cancer.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623459)

You are paranoid and you need to go study business 101.

Re:This will never get approved (0)

Mike Frett (2811077) | about a year ago | (#42623549)

It's not eh. As a business why would I want to cure a person when I can keep making money by offering lifetime treatments?. That's just how it is with big Pharma, most intelligent people know this. If they started actually curing everything, their profits would fall and the markets would tank.

Re:This will never get approved (5, Insightful)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#42623743)

As a business why would I want to cure a person when I can keep making money by offering lifetime treatments?. That's just how it is with big Pharma, most intelligent people know this.

Big Pharma is actually more than one company, and company A doesn't care whether their cure for disease X makes the treatment of company B irrelevant.

If they started actually curing everything, their profits would fall and the markets would tank.

Because people can only get cancer once, and old people are not a better stream of revenue than young people, because Alzheimer medicine is not expensive.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about a year ago | (#42624503)

"Because people can only get cancer once"

Eh? Wtf are you talking about?? Plenty of cancers are curable now but that doesn't mean you can't get it (or a different cancer) later on!

Re:This will never get approved (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623573)

This is not a cure, it will be a really expensive medicine, which will allegedly halt the virus completely, but will require taking it forever. Since life would be considerably prolonged, they will make even more money off this than the standard anti-retrovirals.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#42623613)

From TFA, though, I get the impression that it's a one-shot treatment for long-term results. Course, I could have read it wrong...

Re:This will never get approved (5, Interesting)

reverseengineer (580922) | about a year ago | (#42623625)

This would be a gene therapy treatment- using viral vector to express a mutant protein in your cells. Last year, the European Medicines Agency approved a gene therapy treatment for the first time (no approvals in the US currently). Glybera is indicated for lipoprotein lipase deficiency, a rare disorder that affects fatty acid metabolism. Glybera uses a viral vector to deliver a working copy of the LPL gene to cells; this proposed AIDS treatment would deliver a nonworking copy of TAT to infected cells in a similar fashion. I bring up Glybera for comparison purposes because it is expected to cost over 1 million dollars a patient for a course of treatment. Eventually, gene therapy may become such a routine way of creating treatments that costs will be very low. That is not the present situation.

Re:This will never get approved (1)

jkflying (2190798) | about a year ago | (#42623631)

This is still something which would need regular 'top-up' doses, because it doesn't actually kill the virus but simply prevents it from affecting the immune system by making the immune cells (the HIV's target) inhospitable for the virus to live in. The trouble is that if HIV is able to infect even a single cell before the treatment is given, it actually splices its entire genome somewhere into the DNA of that cell, and at any random time some hormone or environmental factor might cause that section of the DNA to be 'run', causing the virus to be produced again. Think of it like a compromised server - you can never be sure that some executable somewhere deep in the OS wasn't modified to reinstall backdoors whenever it gets run by something as inane as unplugging a keyboard. Unfortunately, with biological systems we don't really have the option of doing a complete wipe and reinstalling from scratch...

Re:This will never get approved (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about a year ago | (#42623731)

They have a choice between selling someone a whole life really expensive medicines (well not to make, but to buy) or cure him.

No, medicine company A have the choice between becoming filthy rich by producing a more efficient AIDS medicine, or let medicine company B keep their revenue. The obvious choice should be clear.

Still a long ways to go (5, Insightful)

Megahard (1053072) | about a year ago | (#42623423)

Just starting animal trials. Too early to know if it's really going to work.

Re:Still a long ways to go (4, Interesting)

mrbluze (1034940) | about a year ago | (#42623831)

Just starting animal trials. Too early to know if it's really going to work.

The preliminary results of the animal trials are startlingly good, and in an interview the chief researcher said he believes the approval cycle will be short (ie: less than 5 years) because of the probability that this therapy will pass safety trials etc. We'll have to wait and see of course.

Re:Still a long ways to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624277)

Of course he would say that, but how many gene therapies are currently approved in Europe or America? One - Glybera. Getting approval for this is going to be anything but easy even if the trials all go prefectly (which they don't, the amount of drugs getting through stage 1, 2 and 3 human trials drops almost logarithmically)

Why do people write news articles like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623445)

I don't get it. This research is at such an early stage that there is no way to know whether is can work. Leave it in the science journal and when clinical trials are over then write about it.

Re:Why do people write news articles like this (1)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about a year ago | (#42623539)

So you only want to hear about research that turns into actual products do you? You're not very curious... Me, I want to know about every new thing out there.

Re:Why do people write news articles like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623615)

Are you curious to know what I ate for breakfast this morning? Unless and until the above mentioned technique actually works, it's about as interesting. It's not a "new thing" unless it's proven, otherwise it's just science fiction. But that's usually what passes for "science" news. It took me years to figure that out, when I finally figured out why we don't have personal hovercrafts like every news outlet promised me 20 years ago.

Re:Why do people write news articles like this (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about a year ago | (#42623647)

They probably need the funds for a trial.

Like announcements that a rediscovery of some 18th century quack physics leads that "may lead to a possible way to make batteries with 500% more storage capacity" - the key work is may. It also may not, but you wont know till the money si all gone.

It will be forgotten.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623449)

Just like any potential cures to other major diseases that plague mankind this potential cure will be quietly buried and forgotten because god forbid the people who make money off drugs to prolong people suffering with HIV will suddenly go broke.

question on the cure (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | about a year ago | (#42623555)

TFS has a quote that refers to changing an AIDS virus protein. How is that accomplished?

Thanks for any insights.

Re:question on the cure (5, Informative)

reverseengineer (580922) | about a year ago | (#42623699)

Gene therapy, in short. They would infect you with a virus (probably a retrovirus, ironically enough) that carries a mutant copy of the HIV-1 Tat gene. Normal Tat is a gene that drastically increases HIV production. HIV hijacks the machinery of human T-cells to make copies of its own genes. The protein that Tat codes for has a nasty trick- it binds to transcription factors in your cells and and increases their output- more HIV production, which includes more Tat production, which causes more HIV production, and the disease explosively progresses. It is thought that reaching a critical mass of Tat is a key element in the transition from HIV infection to AIDS. But if you had a mutant Tat that counteracted this activity, HIV production would only occur at a baseline rate- you'd never get that Tat-HIV-Tat positive feedback.

Here's the article abstract [liebertpub.com] which has some of the technical details. MLV is the murine (mouse) leukemia virus.

Re:question on the cure (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | about a year ago | (#42623773)

Thanks for the info, reverseengineer. I am just a layman reader of textbooks on the subject. This sounds like protein(s) that are associated with some cancers that have a mutation for overtranscribing something that helps the cancer grow.

The retrovirus sounds a little more random than I thought would be done. Wouldn't some HIV have to incorporate the retrovirus into their own RNA to produce the modified protein which would then affect further transcription? What about all the HIV in the body that doesn't incorporate the retrovirus? (Question could also apply to cancers being treated with gene therapy.)

thanks for your insights.

Re:question on the cure (3, Interesting)

reverseengineer (580922) | about a year ago | (#42624127)

I can't say for certain without full access to the paper, but based on the use of a retroviral vector and Dr. Harrich's comments in the video interview, I think the idea would be to infect a population of your hematopoietic stem cells with retroviruses that carry the Nullbasic (mutant copy of Tat) gene. That procedure would be similar to the autologous HSC transplants used in treatment of some leukemias and lymphomas- but then they'd infect the HSCs with the retroviral vector before they put them back in you.

Upon successful infection, the RNA genome of the vector is converted via reverse transcriptase to a DNA sequence. The vector will also produce some enzymes that will integrate the Nullbasic-DNA gene into the DNA genome of your stem cells. If successful, those cells will now produce Nullbasic protein. Since they are stem cells, they will produce Nullbasic-positive blood cells, some of which will be the CD4+ T-cells that HIV infects.

HIV will still infect these cells, inject its RNA genome into the cell, which will be converted to DNA, integrated into the host cell genome, transcribed back to RNA, then translated to viral proteins by the cell's machinery. However, the host cell also makes Nullbasic protein, which act like HIV's Tat, and will interact with the same enzymes, transcription factors, etc., but instead of boosting their functions, it will inhibit them. In theory, HIV would reproduce so slowly in your population of Nullbasic+ T-cells that it simply wouldn't be a disease- the population would never fall to the point of causing immunodeficiency.

The phrase, "in theory" could also apply to most of the other steps I outlined above, of course.

Re:question on the cure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624205)

They could tall the new gene a Tit. Then the treatment could be called Tit-for-Tat.

It's not a cure. (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623637)

You will still be HIV positive and can spread the infection, to others that don't have the modified protein, as it don't completely inhibit HIV reproduction. It's still great news for suffers, if the animal trials are successful.

Re:It's not a cure. (1)

BurstElement (1332791) | about a year ago | (#42623671)

I was thinking much the same thing... this "cure" could potentially make the virus more prevalent as the mortality rate decreases and attitudes towards infection become more lax.

re (0)

newnewshop (2750961) | about a year ago | (#42623757)

Really want to be able to find a cure for AIDS as early as possible!In those patients reported see, is really too painful

Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623921)

If I had a Zimbabwean dollar for every time..... O, forget it.

Nothing will come of this for decades, even on the 1 in 1000000 chance that it actually works.

They should bar miserable old gits like myself from commenting on forums - we've been around too long so don't excited about every little 'new' thing every time some scientist gets excited about every little 'new' thing.

Re:Sure (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623933)

Adding to my post above...

Don't get me wrong. There are times I wish I was very young and everything was new and exciting. That is how truly new things get done/invented/developed.

HIV is not the cause of 'AIDS' (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42623975)

LOL at all the idiots on here - none of you even bother to RESEARCH any of this.

Indicator disease + HIV = 'AIDS'
Indicator disease - HIV = Indicator disease

That is a circular definition, and therefore proves nothing.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/foye8.1.1.html

Do some RESEARCH on whether HIV could possibly be the cause of what is termed 'AIDS' by the medical establishment.

How is HIV passed from women to men? Does it go down the man's urethra and somehow into his bloodstream? How, exactly?
How much HIV is present in vaginal fluids, and how much, if any, vaginal fluid, goes down a man's urethra when he is having sex?

Did any of you idiots bother to THINK about basic stuff like this?

Oh, I forgot - 'HERETIC! Burn him at the stake for questioning!'

Just thought I'd save you the bother. Idiots.

Re:HIV is not the cause of 'AIDS' (2)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42624053)

How is HIV passed from women to men? Does it go down the man's urethra and somehow into his bloodstream? How, exactly? How much HIV is present in vaginal fluids, and how much, if any, vaginal fluid, goes down a man's urethra when he is having sex?

Did any of you idiots bother to THINK about basic stuff like this?

You clearly haven't, since all you're doing is asking the questions. Why don't you go out and find the answers? Then come back and present a little thing that the rest of us like to call "evidence."

I'll do the first one for you. The second one is your homework.

For HIV to be able to infect someone it has to cross through the mucosal membranes (the skin that lines the vagina, cervix, rectum, urethra (hole where urine/pee/semen comes out), mouth, nose, etc).

Contrary to popular belief, there does not have to be a cut or a tear in the membrane for HIV to pass through (though the presence of such will increase that persons risk should they be exposed).

I got that from Yahoo! Answers, fer chris'sakes. It's not heard.

Do some RESEARCH

Good advice. Why don't you follow it?

Re:HIV is not the cause of 'AIDS' (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about a year ago | (#42624153)

I got that from Yahoo! Answers, fer chris'sakes. It's not heard.

Hah. Not hard, obviously. Stupid fingers.

Re:HIV is not the cause of 'AIDS' (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624207)

Hilarious. If HIV is THAT easily transmitted, and HIV is the cause of 'AIDS', then MILLIONS of people should be dying every year in the United States, since MILLIONS of people contract other STDs in EXACTLY the manner you describe. LOL.

You're an idiot, you have no clue as to what is going on, you don't know what 'AIDS' is.
Can you show me any EVIDENCE of 'HIV' passing through a mucosal membrane? i.e. a witnessed event, not 'somebody said that they didn't have a sore on their penis but DID somehow get 'HIV', and they definitely weren't engaging in anal sex with gay men, they said so'. You cretin.

You have no idea of what the scientific method is - here's a clue - it isn't being applied to 'HIV' and 'AIDS', because there is so much MONEY involved.

Did you read that webpage?
http://www.lewrockwell.com/orig7/foye8.1.1.html

'AIDS' is a gigantic fraud, the biggest medical fraud ever perpetrated against the people of this planet. And it's all possible because MOST people are ignorant cretings like YOU, who believe everything the T.V. tells them, and refuse to question anything.

Since the number of people infected with STDs is rising every year, due to more and more people having more sexual partners, and not using condoms, why aren't there more and more people dying of 'AIDS'? Don't tell me - the 'wonder drugs' are magically saving their lives!

Try reading this - The Trouble with Nevirapine:

http://www.tig.org.za/The%20trouble%20with%20nevirapine.pdf

(Don't tell me - you don't even know what Nevirapine is, right?)

Re:HIV is not the cause of 'AIDS' (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42624313)

Haha, Oh my days.

As a doctor in the UK who has worked in the largest centre for HIV in Europe (Chelsea and Westminster hospital, at the GUM/infectious diseases centre there) I can tell you that fewer people are dying of AIDS for the exact reason you mock, drugs are saving their lives. These aren't wonder drugs, and they aren't nice drugs for your body in many ways, but they do work well.

Here's a great page describing the HAART and modified HAART regimes that we mostly use nowadays http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1533218-overview

To give you an idea of how effective these treatments are life expectancy in someone newly diagnosed with HIV with a high CD4 count in the UK is now expected to be only one year less than if they had not been infected. Not that that means their life will be easy, the drugs have a lot of side effects and they will often be very ill for a long time before they die, and the drugs cost a lot, but they will live.

How about other diseases? (1)

sturle (1165695) | about a year ago | (#42624063)

Will this method work against the common cold? *cough* *cough* It affects many more people than AIDS ever did. *trumpet sound* Probably causing more sick days at work as well. Can we, now that we have a cure for AIDS, please *cough* focus on finding a cure for the common cold? *Sneeze* It has been a menace for much longer than AIDS.

Re:How about other diseases? (2)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | about a year ago | (#42624125)

The cold virus and most other viruses are not dependent on a protein that boosts transcriptiuon of the virus like apparently HIV is.

Otherwise you would have a universal blockage of production of any virus.

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