Navigation Links
UCLA scientists transform HIV into cancer-seeking missile

Camouflaging an impotent AIDS virus in new clothes enables it to hunt down metastasized melanoma cells in living mice, reports a UCLA AIDS Institute study in the Feb. 13 online edition of Nature Medicine. The scientists added the protein that makes fireflies glow to the virus in order to track its journey from the bloodstream to new tumors in the animals' lungs.

"For the past 20 years, gene therapy has been hampered by the lack of a good carrier for therapeutic genes that can travel through the blood and aim itself at a precise location, thereby minimizing harmful side effects," explained Irvin S.Y. Chen, Ph.D., director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. "Our approach proves that it is possible to develop an effective carrier and reprogram it to target specific cells in the body."

The UCLA team employed a two-step approach to transform HIV into a cancer-seeking machine. First, the scientists used a version of HIV from which the viral pieces that cause AIDS had been removed. This allowed the virus to infect cells and spread throughout the body without provoking disease.

"The disarmed AIDS virus acts like a Trojan horse ?transporting therapeutic agents to a targeted part of the body, such as the lungs, where tumors often spread," said Chen, a professor of medicine, microbiology, immunology and molecular genetics and a member of the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Second, the scientists stripped off HIV's viral coat and redressed it in the outer suit of the Sindbis virus, which normally infects insects and birds. By altering the Sindbis coat, they reprogrammed the AIDS virus, which ordinarily infects T-cells, to hunt down and attach to P-glycoproteins -- molecules located on the surface of many cancer cells. The UCLA team is the first to prove that modified HIV will target and bind with P-glycoproteins.

"P-glycoproteins cause big problems by making the cell resistant to chemotherapy," said Chen. "They act like soccer goalies and punt therapeutic drugs out of the cancer cell. This prevents the drug from taking effect and allows the tumor to continue growing unchecked."

In order to track the carrier's journey, the scientists added luciferase ?the protein that makes fireflies glow ?to the AIDS virus. They injected the camouflaged HIV into a vein in the mouse's tail and used a special optical camera to watch the carrier's movement.

"The virus traveled through the animal's bloodstream and homed straight to the cancer cells in the lungs, where the melanoma had migrated," said Chen.

When the researchers held the mouse under the camera, the luciferase illuminated the cancer cells, which glowed through the animal's bones, muscles and fur. The method is non-invasive and does not cause pain or harm to the animal.

Though excited at proving that HIV can be used to target cancer cells, Chen emphasizes that the carrier must be further enhanced for safety and specificity before it can be tested as a gene-therapy method in humans.

"Our next step will be to test whether we can direct therapeutic genes to the precise location where cancer cells reside," Chen said. "This approach offers many potential applications for controlling cancer and other diseases."

"We may be able to boost immune-system surveillance at tumor sites, identify cancer cells' exact location and kill them before they cause damage," he added. "Beyond cancer, it may be possible to correct acquired and genetic diseases where the mutations exert their harmful effects on the body."

Melanoma is a serious form of skin cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 59,580 Americans will be diagnosed with melanoma in 2005, and about 7,770 people will die of the disease.


'"/>

Source:University of California - Los Angeles


Related biology news :

1. Wisconsin scientists grow critical nerve cells
2. UCSB scientists probe sea floor venting to gain understanding of early life on Earth
3. UAB scientists discover the origin of a mysterious physical force
4. Fox Chase Cancer Center scientists identify immune-system mutation
5. Weizmann Institute scientists develop a new approach for directing treatment to metastasized prostate cancer in the bones.
6. U-M scientists find genes that control growth of common skin cancer
7. RNA project to create language for scientists worldwide
8. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop tool that uses MRI to visualize gene expression in living animals
9. To control germs, scientists deploy tiny agents provocateurs
10. Leprosy microbes lead scientists to immune discovery
11. Integration of Agilents MS technology, Proteome Systems software to help scientists in proteomics research
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/7/2016)... According to a new market research report "Emotion Detection ... Voice Recognition), Service, Application Area, End User, And Region - Global Forecast to ... 6.72 Billion in 2016 to USD 36.07 Billion by 2021, at a Compound ... ... MarketsandMarkets Logo ...
(Date:12/6/2016)... WARSAW, Ind. , Dec. 6, 2016  Zimmer Biomet ... that it has priced an offering of €500.0 million principal ... €500.0 million principal amount of its 2.425% senior unsecured notes ... is expected to occur on December 13, 2016, subject to the ... on an annual basis. ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... The report "Biometric Vehicle Access ... (Iris Recognition System), Vehicle Type (Passenger Car, Battery ... 2021", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market is estimated ... is projected to grow to USD 854.8 Million ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160303/792302) ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Biotheranostics today announced ... role of the Breast Cancer Index (BCI) in ... cancer are most at-risk for disease recurrence and ... results from three studies advancing the understanding of ... to tumor biology and inform decisions related to ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... USA, and CARDIFF, UK (PRWEB) , ... December ... ... with very high precision light to control cells — optogenetics — is key ... the current state of the art, spatially patterned light projected via free-space optics ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... -- Oxford Gene Technology (OGT), The ... range with the launch of the SureSeq myPanel™ NGS Custom ... in familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The panel delivers single nucleotide variation ... small panel and allows customisation by ,mix and match, of ... LDLR , P C SK9 , ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... exceptionally efficient human mesenchymal stem/stromal cell (hMSC) expansion medium. This single ... engineered to radically streamline culture processes, minimize processing time, significantly decrease production ...
Breaking Biology Technology: