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SCI/TECH: Scientists Use HIV Virus to Fight Cancer

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 02:54 PM
Scientists at the University of California have taken the deadly HIV virus, the virus that causes AIDS, and reprogrammed it to use as part of cancer therapy. The scientists say the reprogrammed virus helps target cancerous cells and helps chemotherapy drugs enter the cells but is incapable of causing the deadly AIDS disease. The research was conducted in mice and much more research will be required before it can be tested in humans.
MONDAY, Feb. 14 (HealthDay News) -- A harmless version of a major killer, the HIV virus, is being used to hunt down malignant melanoma cancer cells in mice, researchers say.

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles AIDS Institute used a version of HIV lacking key components that cause AIDS. This disabled form of the virus was able to spread through the body and infect cells, but without causing disease, they explained.

Next, the researchers stripped off HIV's viral coat and reprogrammed the virus to recognize and attach to P-glycoproteins, molecules located on the surface of many cancer cells.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.

It's interesting seeing the HIV virus being put to good use in fighting cancer, but given the dangerous nature of the AIDS disease and the mutating capabilities of the virus, I'd be quite wary of actually introducing the virus to uninfected humans even if the scientists say it's no longer capable of causing disease.

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posted on Feb, 14 2005 @ 03:03 PM
Using viruses as therapy vehicles is quite common - and the method of choice in genetic modification of organisms (GMO's).

The technology is based on the natural process that prions like Mad Cow use to infect cells - it was first identified around 1986 by Esser, Schmidt and Lemke (see Bio/technology and Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology)

Instead of using the breakthroughs to stop the prion related disease epidemics and help ordinary people, business created the GMO industry.

This is just the latest extension.


posted on Feb, 17 2005 @ 12:35 AM
Wow! I think this is pretty exciting stuff. First of all they use the flourescent protein found in fireflys to track the inactivated virus and then they can watch the the injected virus target the cancerous cells.

I'm sure that such technology and therapy could have far reaching applications for the health industry.


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