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Indian doc develops enzyme that can destroy HIV

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posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 02:13 AM

Indian doc develops enzyme that can destroy HIV

Bangalore: Dr Indrani Sarkar has has every reason to be excited. Her PhD thesis, which started in 2002 at the Max Planck Institute in Dresden, Germany, has thrown open the doors for developing enzymes that can destroy the dreaded Human Immuno-deficiency Virus or HIV within infected cells permanently.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 02:13 AM
I'm not too sure what to make of this, haven't we heard it all before? It will be good if it comes to pass, but I'm sure there are many people who will want it to not happen, or a best make a ton of money from it.
(visit the link for the full news article)

posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 11:20 AM
Very exciting news, but experimentation with Tre Recombinase has been going on for awhile now in German labs. It is a very promising approach to HIV gene therapy, but there are a number of hurdles before this can be used to effectively treat HIV+ individuals. Let me describe what exactly is going on with this particular enzyme and why this may be very beneficial to HIV research.

HIV contains mRNA as its basic genome before Reverse Transcriptase converts it into DNA upon entering a host cell. This DNA is then integrated into the cell through Integrase where it enters a short latency period before exiting the cell and starting a larger infection. Now, HIV contains multiple genes within its genome such as GAG, POL, ENV, VIF, etc. that are surrounded by Long Terminal Repeats (LTR) which mediate integration of the Lentivirus DNA into another part of the chromosomes. This process is the key to understanding how the Tre enzyme works. Tre Recombinase (enzyme) can remove viral DNA from the host because they allow specific genes to be removed from the region of the HIV LTR's. Once the viral DNA is removed cellular function should be restored, and the cell should be able to integrate its own DNA back in the genome. Gene therapy such as this, should it be developed effectively, could very well pave the way for removal of HIV DNA once past Reverse Transcriptase.

Some problems that might hinder the research include:

1. Tre and Cre Recombinates are easily destroyed by the bodies natural Immunological properties, and one's own body will actively seek them out.

2. Both enzymes act very slow when introduced into the body. This means that to aviod being destroyed they must be engineered and manufactured to act more quickly.

3. Cultured cells being exposed to Tre is a very different process than being exposed in real world situations. Only if this therapy makes it into the clinical trial stages will we know if it will be effective as a treatment option.

The specific enzyme Tre Recombinase was actually developed from another enzyeme found in Bacteriophages (viruses which infect bacteria) called Cre Recombinase. Specific proteins found inside this enzyme catalyze the interconversion of polymers to have an effect on the topology of DNA structure. In other words, it basically works to cut out certain parts of DNA and can alter the topology of it as well. The easiest way to visualize this process is that Tre Recombinase is able to snip out specific sequences known as LoxP (abbreviation for "Locus of X-over P1" and the site for DNA recombination within a molecule) where Recombination can occur.

Due to the fact that research into the uses of this enzyme are so new, it will be a number of years until clinical trials and such can be conducted to assure positive use for Tre in gene therapy for HIV+ people, but early signs do show a positive slant.

[edit on 17-9-2007 by Jazzerman]

posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 02:16 PM
I forgot to add that while this treatment shows some promise for HIV-1 infections there is less current evidence that shows it will be beneficial to those infected with HIV-2. This is due to various differences between the two species of HIV, which I will only go into at the request of members.

posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 06:42 PM

Originally posted by Jazzerman
I forgot to add that while this treatment shows some promise for HIV-1 infections there is less current evidence that shows it will be beneficial to those infected with HIV-2. This is due to various differences between the two species of HIV, which I will only go into at the request of members.

I'd be interested in hearing about this. I haven't kept up with HIV news.

posted on Sep, 17 2007 @ 07:55 PM

It appears that all of the research conducted by Sarkar has centered on the HIV-1 species. Due to the fact that HIV-2 is only prevalent in some parts of Africa and Asia there has been little research into its differences during the process of Reverse Transcriptase as much as we have studied HIV-1. HIV-2 DNA synthesis is a much less efficient process than HIV-1, and this is a primary reason why HIV-2 is less virulent. In my last post I alluded to the fact that Tre/Cre Enzymes act very slow, and because the HIV-2 DNA synthesis is also a less efficient process it may very well conclude that the process will have no benefit. On top of this, HIV-2 has always demonstrated an intrinsic resistance to therapy utilizing Non-nucleoside Reverse Transcriptase Inhibitors, which may reflect the slight differences in the primer grip region p68/p55 (for HIV-2) palm subdomains in conjunction to the p66/p51 (found in HIV-1).

This is not to say that Tre Recombinase will not have some positive effect when exposed to HIV-2 DNA and the morphing of its topology, but this early evidence shows that it may not be all that beneficial. I would be very curious to hear if Tre/Cre enzymes could be used in the same way against the primer grip regions p68/p55.

Anyhow, I hope that helps.

posted on Sep, 18 2007 @ 03:21 AM
Thanks for the responses Jazzerman, very informative.

Something I'm interested in, is the enzyme can go in and 'attack' the HIV DNA correct? Does this idea have potential side effects? What I am thinking of is in a lot of cancer treatments it kind of attacks the problem, but also causes other problems too (hence hair failing out, extreme sickness). Is this HIV treatment more targeted in this regard? It sounds as if it is, which would be great.

Sorry if any of that is not quite correct, I'm just a layman when it comes to most science and biology in particular.

[edit on 18-9-2007 by bobafett]

posted on Sep, 18 2007 @ 03:23 AM
Very good news,
But I need proof before I will accept this.
There have been so many unsuccessful attempts before, why should this be any different.

posted on Sep, 18 2007 @ 03:36 AM
reply to post by bobafett

The problem in cancer treatment is getting the highly toxic chemical TO the affected area.

I recently saw an article wherupon they coat the chemical with a fatty tissue which has a melting point above that of the human body.
Microwaves are then focused exactly on the cancerous growth so any coated chemicals around Ground zero have their coating melted,releasing the chemotherapy drug directly to the growth.
This decreases the amount of cellular damage caused by the regular drug treatment on its trip to the affected site.

Problem with HIV is it's everywhere.Bloodstream,glands,lymphatic system,liver.. EVERYWHERE..
So one would have to assume that the succesful enzyme needed in this treatment would be Non-toxic to the human body.

posted on Sep, 18 2007 @ 09:33 AM

Originally posted by bobafett
Something I'm interested in, is the enzyme can go in and 'attack' the HIV DNA correct? Does this idea have potential side effects?

I would generally assume, although I cannot confirm, that the introduction of cultured Tre Recombinase into the human body would have quite a few side effects. The Tre Enzyme is so new I have not had the time to properly research it myself so basing an opinion on the assumption that it behaves in much the same way at it Bacteriophage Cre Recombinase counterpart, you can read a little about the toxicity here:

Growth Inhibition and DNA damage induced by Cre Recombinase

Journal of Microbiology

posted on Sep, 19 2007 @ 03:48 PM
THis is a great current development, i cant wait to see were this goes. Hopefully in a couple of years we will have cures. THat will be a relief for allot of people.

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 01:07 AM
There should not be a cure. People must learn not to give in to lust and be responsible.

Go smoke or have unprotected sex, whatever, learn that your decisions have consequences.

[edit on 21-9-2007 by Elijio]

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 01:25 AM
wow you are totally wrong, what about people that have had blood transfusions, the guy that played the predator in Predator was in a car accident and he had to have a blood transfusion to save his life, unfortunately he received hiv from the transfusion too. What about the poor kids that are born hiv positive, what about them. There needs to be a cure, hiv is at pandemic levels and is increasing all the time, although you don't necessarily have do die because of advances in medicine...its still a horrible disease, almost like a machine.

And that comment is narrow minded, go get hiv dude...

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 01:35 AM
reply to post by Jazzerman

Great post!
Highly informative and you managed to explain things in a way that I (as someone who has done rather little research into the subject) could understand.

I came away from it feeling I had learned something.
Thank you!

posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 02:40 AM
Thanks for your posts Jazzer

As usual you manage to take something really technical and make it easy to understand even for a Neanderthal like me

Top of your avatar says "HIV Educator"...I'd reckon you're a fine educator all round


posted on Sep, 21 2007 @ 10:52 AM
Thanks to the both of you, I'm delighted to hear it's not falling on deaf ears. I'm still doing a bit of research into understanding how they evolved Cre Recombinase into it's manufactured counterpart Tre, as I believe this is revelant to understanding how it will work for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. If I find the information I'm looking for I will post it in this thread today.

posted on Sep, 23 2007 @ 03:55 PM
I went looking again to see if anyone else has picked up this news, it seems that none of the major news agencies has picked this up.

During the search I did find this though

A promising 'vaccine' cancelled.

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