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University of Michigan scientists discover bone marrow can harbor HIV-infected cells
Date:3/8/2010

iral drugs for more than six months.

While further studies are needed to demonstrate that stem cells can harbor the HIV virus, the study results confirm that HIV targets some long-lived progenitor cells, young cells that have not fully developed but mature into cells with special immune functions. When active infection occurs the toxic effects of the virus kill the cell even as the newly made viral particles spread the infection to new target cells.

"Our finding that HIV infects these cells has clear ramifications for HIV disease because some of these cells may be long-lived and could carry latent HIV for extended periods of time," she says. "These HIV cell reservoirs can be induced to generate new infections."

The new research gives a broader view of how HIV overwhelms the body's immune system and devastates its ability to regenerate itself.

Globally more than 30 million people are infected with HIV, including millions of children. Improvements have been made since the 1990s in the way the disease is treated that has led to an 85 percent to 90 percent reduction in mortality.

"Drugs now available are effective at treating the virus, making HIV more of a chronic disease than a death sentence," Collins says. "This has made a huge impact in quality of life, however only 40 percent of people worldwide are receiving anti-viral drugs and unfortunately that means that not everybody is benefiting."


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Contact: Shantell M. Kirkendoll
smkirk@umich.edu
734-764-2220
University of Michigan Health System
Source:Eurekalert

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