Navigation Links
Gene Therapy Shows Promise Against HIV

Early findings suggest it could work, but application remains years away

FRIDAY, Feb. 19 (HealthDay News) -- A new study is among the first to hint that gene therapy could become a weapon against the virus that causes AIDS.

However, any treatment remains far from being ready for use by patients, and would likely be expensive, experts said.

Still, the research is "a step in the direction of using gene therapy" to treat HIV patients, said Dr. Pablo Tebas, co-author of a new study and associate professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Existing AIDS drugs allow many patients to live fairly normal lives despite being infected with HIV. But they can cause a variety of side effects, and some patients become immune to them over time.

"The next big challenge is going to be: Can you cure the infection or control it to a level that allows patients to not take these expensive and complex medications that can be toxic?" Tebas said.

One possible solution is to help the body fight off HIV without the use of drugs. That's where gene therapy comes in, Tebas said. "Can you make the patient resistant so they can control HIV on their own?"

In the new study, the Pennsylvania team tested a gene therapy approach in which scientists first remove immune cells from patients, tinker with their genes and then put them back into the bodies of the patients.

Eight HIV-infected people took part in the study. After the genetically modified cells were placed back into the patients, "we stopped HIV treatment and tried to see what happened," Tebas said.

The findings are scheduled to be reported this week at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco.

The levels of HIV fell below the expected levels in seven of the eight patients, the team found. Signs of the virus disappeared altogether in one patient, although that happens sometimes -- it's not an indication that the disease is cured -- and the researchers aren't sure why it happened in this case.

"We need to understand why it happened and see if we can reproduce that in the general population," Tebas said.

It's still early in the development of the treatment: the current research is in phase 2 of the customary three phases of research that new medical treatments go through.

If gene therapy does become a treatment for HIV patients, it may be best for those who aren't doing well on existing antiretroviral drugs, said John Rossi, chairman of the molecular and cellular biology department at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope Medical Center near Los Angeles.

"There are thousands of people who are completely resistant to all the drugs that are out there, and this is one more option they could have," Rossi said.

But the cost of the treatment would probably be high, he added, perhaps reaching around $20,000. And it's not clear how long the treatment would last, he said, since the immune cells aren't permanent.

More information

There's more on gene therapy for another condition, cancer, at the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

SOURCES: Pablo Tebas, M.D., associate professor, medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; John Rossi, Ph.D., chairman, department of molecular and cellular biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, Calif.; presentation, Feb. 18, 2010, Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, San Francisco

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
2. HIV therapy in pregnancy-data support WHO recommendations
3. Family-based treatment more effective than supportive psychotherapy in treating bulimia
4. Trial to Test Gene Therapy for Angina in Women
5. One of the Largest Post-WHI Physician Surveys Shows More Education is Needed: Patient Misinformation About Hormone Therapy Remains High
6. Aromatherapy Gift Line Sheds Humorous Light on Modern Therapy
7. Chemotherapy may be culprit for fatigue in breast cancer survivors
8. Atlanta Falcons Physical Therapy Centers Set to Launch This Fall
9. New Drug No Substitute for Standard Blood-Clot Therapy
10. Stem Cell Therapy Disappoints Against Rare Kidney Ailment
11. Nucletron Announces Management Buy-Out to More Effectively Meet the Demands of Its Customers and the Radiation Therapy Community
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 13, 2017 , ... ... established the certification process to promote standards of excellence for the field of ... scheduled for March 22 – 25, 2018 in Orlando, Florida at the Omni ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... Apple Rehab Shelton Lakes ... a mock evacuation of the facility as part of a disaster drill on October ... Hose EMS and Shelton City Emergency Manager, as well as the Connecticut Long ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... , ... Global Healthcare Management’s 4th Annual Kids Fun Run brought out many ... event, sponsored by Global Healthcare Management’s CEO, Jon Letko, is aimed at getting kids ... of all ages; it is a non-competitive, non-timed event, which is all about having ...
(Date:10/13/2017)... ... October 13, 2017 , ... “The Journey: From the ... danger possible to save lost souls in the Philippines. “The Journey: From the Mountains ... a dedicated teacher of the Bible. She has taught all ages and currently teaches ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... New Orleans, LA (PRWEB) , ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... fitness centers in the U.S., announced today its plans to open a flagship location ... club will occupy the former Rooms To Go store next to Office Depot in ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/4/2017)... Mass. , Oct. 4, 2017  According to the Centers for ... the end of October . PhysicianOne Urgent Care is helping communities across ... Westchester, NY , by offering no-cost* flu shots through the ... as mandated by certain health insurance regulations. ... The best time to get a flu shot is by the ...
(Date:10/2/2017)... 2, 2017  AllianceRx Walgreens Prime, the combined central ... and pharmacy benefit manager Prime Therapeutics LLC (Prime), today ... included the unveiling of new signage at its headquarters ... as at a few other company-owned facilities across the ... patients, some of whom will begin to see the ...
(Date:9/28/2017)... , Sept. 28, 2017 Cohen Veterans ... advance the use of wearable and home sensors for ... disorders. Early Signal Foundation, a nonprofit organization focused on ... will provide an affordable analytical system to record and ... ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: