According to an article for UAB News, 40% of individuals infected with HIV are not currently receiving antiretroviral therapy, which means their disease is not suppressed. The University of Alabama, Birmingham’s Center for AIDS Research recently partnered with state and local agencies in signing the Paris Declaration to eliminate the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2030. Birmingham is the 13th U.S. city to commit to achieving the Declaration’s goals.Read More
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HIV and AIDS have been a conspicuous concern worldwide for several decades now; research into its treatment regularly gains national attention and benefits from billions of dollars in research funding. What many people may not realize, however, is that simian immunodeficiency virus, (or SIV, a nonhuman primate form of HIV that causes AIDS in monkeys) may hold the keys to unlocking the mysteries of how HIV can be treated in humans.Read More
Life science researchers at Stanford University are getting a booster shot from The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has pledged to give $50 million over the next 10 years to establish the Stanford Human Systems Immunology Center on the school's California campus.Read More
In order for HIV to proliferate and infect new cells in the body, a number of proteins need to interact with each other in just the right way. If they don't, the virus is not able to multiply and spread, and HIV infection cannot develop into full-blown Auto Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). It's a case of finding a weak link and exploiting its potential to disrupt an entire supply chain. In the University of Pittsburgh microbiology lab of Dr. Thomas Smithgall, this protein sabotage approach has successfully allowed them to identify a helper molecule that, if compromised, could form the basis of an effective new HIV/AIDS treatment therapy. The paper documenting their research appeared in the January 24 issue of Chemistry & Biology.
2012 was a big year for the science of snipping DNA to introduce genetic changes into a cell, also known as genome editing. Though Science magazine hailed two new techniques for selectively cutting and pasting DNA in the field of genome engineering as together constituting one of the Top 10 scientific breakthroughs of the year, those methods may already have been surpassed by researchers at the University of California Berkeley using RNA and a single protein. Faster, simpler, and cheaper, the UCB team led by Dr. Jennifer Doudna published initial results of their work genetically modifying bacteria using the RNA-based DNA cleavage technique last summer. The response from the the life science community was extremely positive, with reviews calling it a "tour de force" and a "a real hit," according to the latest press release. Now three more papers are coming out based on the work of the Doudna Lab showing that the RNA programming technique using a bacterial enzyme known as Cas9 is equally effective in making alterations to human genes.
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There's been a lot of promising news lately on the HIV/AIDS drug and treatment front, and more scientific solutions are being developed in labs every day. Bringing new vaccine and drug treatments to fruition has been challenging, though, as test animals such as mice do not have immune systems that are similar enough to ours to predict what would really happen in a human model. Now, at bio science research labs at the Ragon Institute in Boston, scientists have overcome that obstacle by engineering a mouse with what is essentially a human immune system. The Ragon study just published in Science Translational Medicine successfully demonstrated that these "humanized mice" do in fact respond like a human does when infected with HIV. This is a big step towards developing and testing new vaccines in the lab.
Debates over the legitimacy of medical marijuana as a pain medication or appetite enhancer have tended to point to a lack of scientific studies proving the key substance is safe and effective. Patients and doctors have not always waited for that hard evidence, instead working from an empirical position that saw positive results from the ingestion of cannabinoids, the active ingredients, that lead them to make their own treatment decisions. But serious bioscience research, especially in the fields of pharmacology, infectious disease, and neuroscience, is showing surprising results in laboratory studies on cannabinoids, and those findings go far beyond the pain and appetite benefits to actually short-circuiting disease in late-stage AIDS patients.