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Einstein researchers demonstrate a novel approach to treating AIDS

p>In this study their target was the protein gp41, one of several proteins in the HIV-1 virus that are "displayed" on the surface of HIV-1-infected cells. After obtaining antibodies that would latch specifically onto gp41, the researchers tagged them with two different radioisotopes, bismuth 213 and rhenium 188.

To test the therapy, the researchers first injected HIV-1-infected human white blood cells into the spleens of immune-deficient mice. (The spleen was chosen because the overwhelming majority of HIV-1-infected cells in humans are present in the spleen and other lymphoid tissues; and the absence of an immune system meant the mice could not mount an immune attack against the "foreign" human white blood cells.) One hour later, the mice were injected with the radioactive antibodies.

Three days after treatment, the researchers measured the number of HIV-1-infected cells in the spleens of the mice. Compared with control mice (which were treated with antibodies not attached to radioisotopes), the number of HIV-1-infected human white blood cells in the treated mice was significantly reduced. The greater the antibody-radiosotope dose, the greater the proportion of HIV-1-infected cells that were killed. Both isotopes proved effective in eliminating the virus-infected cells from the mice, which experienced no significant adverse effects from the treatment.

"Today's antiretroviral drug therapies can inhibit the multiplication of HIV and help prevent HIV from infecting additional cells," says Dr. Harris Goldstein, Director of the Center for AIDS Research at Einstein. "But we currently have no way of eliminating the HIV-infected cells that make these infections chronic. The novelty of this technique is that it targets the cells infected by HIV, which act as 'factories' for making more of the virus. So if we could eradicate all the HIV-infected cells in a patient­which would likely require a combination of therapies--then we could start to th
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Source:Albert Einstein College of Medicine


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