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HIV Hides Out in Bone Marrow Cells
Date:3/7/2010

s and cells from infected people in the laboratory.

The investigators found that the virus can infect certain kinds of bone marrow cells that are the parents ("progenitors") of blood cells, Collins said.

So why not use a medication to kill all those parent cells, thereby perhaps ridding the body of HIV?

It sounds simple, but killing all of these blood-producing marrow cells would be lethal to humans, Collins said. However, "maybe we could find ways of targeting only the latently infected bone marrow cells," she added.

Zack, the UCLA researcher, said the study findings are convincing, but "we as yet do not have easy ways to eliminate these dormant sources of virus. The challenge to the field is to find all sources of virus -- this study identifies one -- and identify ways to eliminate them. Only by developing strategies to eliminate all the different sources can we purge HIV from the body."

In the long run, study co-author Collins said, the findings could help scientists develop ways to eradicate HIV or turn lifelong medication therapy "into a therapy that might last for a defined period of time."

More information

There's more on treating HIV/AIDS at Avert.org.



SOURCES: Kathleen Collins, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of internal medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Jerome A. Zack, Ph.D., director, UCLA Center for AIDS Research, Los Angeles; March 7, 2010, Nature Medicine, online


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