Scientists have discovered that a cancer drug could be effective to flush out AIDS virus from white blood cells. It is usually said that AIDS, virus is a hiding artist as it can hide itself within body cells of humans where it remain in dormant condition. Now it would be possible to eradicate this virus which can be considered as the major breakthrough for the cure of AIDS.
“It is the beginning of work toward a cure for AIDS,” David Margolis, co-author of the study published in the journal Nature, told AFP as the International AIDS Conference was under way in Washington
HIV is retrovirus which target immune system of the body. It has most devastating effects on CD4+T cells that are the important part of immunity. It is estimated that almost 34 million people are suffering AIDS worldwide. As yet there are approximately 30 million deaths that occur due to this dangerous virus since its outbreak in 1980.
It is first time that researchers of US used vorinostat (a drug used in chemotherapy) against this hiding artist. This drug target an enzyme that permit the virus to lie latent but this drug also poses certain serious side effects.
“After a single dose of the drug, at least for a moment in time, (vorinostat) is flushing the virus out of hiding,” Margolis said of the trial results — the first drug ever shown to do so.
“This is proof of the concept, of the idea that the virus can be specifically targeted in a patient by a drug, and essentially opens up the way for this class of drugs to be studied for use in this way.”
We know that many cells that produce HIV die in the process. We know many cells that produce HIV can be identified and killed by the immune system. As far as we can tell, all the viruses floating around while patients are taking therapy don’t get into cells because they are blocked by the therapy,” Margolis said.
Since this virus is host dependent and it cannot live without host as it will die within minutes.
“There is a possibility that this could work. But … if it is only 99 percent true and one percent of the virus escapes, it won’t succeed. That is why we have to be careful about our work and what we claim about it.”
HIV researcher Steven Deeks said the research provided “the first evidence that … a cure might one day be feasible”.
This drug has raised hope to cure HIV patients but there are number of question that must need clarification. For example is it ethical to use such drug which has potential side effects?
“These data from the lab of David Margolis are genuinely exciting for those exploring pathways to achieving a cure for AIDS,” Oxford University HIV researcher John Frater told AFP, calling for investment in further research.
HIV immunologist Quentin Sattentau gives a statement that results are promising but this treatment may not be useful in case of brain.
“Thus there is a long way to go before we will know if this can work to completely eradicate HIV from an infected person.”
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