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Researchers uncover approach for possibly eradicating HIV infection
Date:6/21/2009

ST. LUCIE, FL Researchers from the newly-established VGTI Florida and the University of Montreal have uncovered a possible method for eradicating HIV infection in the human body. The researchers have also revealed new information which demonstrates how HIV persists in the body - even in patients receiving drug treatments - and how the virus continues to replicate itself in individuals undergoing treatment. The research findings will be published in the online version of the journal Nature Medicine on June 21 and will be featured in an upcoming print edition of the journal.

Medical advancements in the past 20 years have significantly increased the survival rates of AIDS patients. In fact, approximately 90 percent of patients infected with AIDS can survive with the disease as long as they are treated with a complex series of antiretroviral drugs.

"Current medications allow us to control HIV and limit its progression in most cases," explained Rafick-Pierre Skaly, Ph.D., current scientific director for VGTI Florida, a former scientist at the University of Montreal, and senior author of the research paper. "However, the medications do not eradicate the disease. Instead, the disease persists within the body much like water in a reservoir - and is never fully destroyed. We believe our latest research may help scientists and physicians overcome this hurdle."

The research team was able to identify a possible new way of attacking HIV by first identifying the specific cells where HIV infection persists in patients currently undergoing treatment. They found that the disease is able to survive within two subsets of memory T-cells. Memory T-cells are a portion of the body's immune system and have the ability to learn, detect and attack certain types of infectious diseases.

By infecting cells within the body's own immune system, HIV is able to avoid antiviral treatments that are effective in stopping HIV in other cell types in
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Contact: Danielle Visconte
visconte@ohsu.edu
772-345-4782
Oregon Health & Science University
Source:Eurekalert

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