The AIDS cure search may be taking a new path as a team of University researchers have taken a different approach to the global issue.
This different tactic was adopted by a team of University of Michigan researchers led by Kathleen Collins. She is a Michigan University Immunology and Microbiology Professor.
Collins and her team will be trying to find an AIDS cure by examining a coral. Although it may seem somewhat odd, a closer look at the organism’s natural properties may prove to be very effective.
Initial study findings and reports were published this week. They were released on the University’s Health System’s Health Lab blog.
Research is currently being sustained by the medical research institute of the university. It is also part of a National Institutes of Health program.
Studies are still in the very early stages, but according to the lead, could prove to have an important impact.
Research is targeting the natural properties of actinomycetes. This is a marine bacteria which is capable of producing an HIV inhibitor. The respective substance works by inhibiting an HIV cell released protein.
As such, the marine bacteria could come to function in a curative rather than preventive way.
Most researchers looking for an HIV cure are targeting the HIV virus’s infection abilities. However, this new study is targeting already affected cells, not potentially future infections.
Collins, the lead, wrote that most available treatments are efficient in reducing the number of infected cells. However, there is no currently available therapy capable of eradicating or curing such affected cells.
Her team’s new approach would propose a different AIDS cure. Instead of isolating, their drug should come to help the immune system detect infected cells. Following their discovery, it should also proceed to cure or kill them.
The new approach is backed-up by previous studies conducted by the same professor. In a collaboration with other researchers, they have been screening the bacteria over these past 5 years.
Also part of this research was David Sherman, a Michigan University microbiologist. The Center for Chemical Genomics part of the Life Sciences Institute also contributed in the bacteria study.
Another long-term study subject was also the research of Nef. This is the protein held responsible for hiding the HIV virus.
Based on previous and current research, Collins showed optimism in this new AIDS cure expertise area. According to preliminary reports, the resulting drug seems to be very potent. It also showed no traces of cell tissue toxicity.
However, the researcher also pointed out that the study needs to be studied further. Although quite a lot of research is still needed, most of those involved attest to its potential high effectiveness.
As the team of researchers started by testing 10 compounds, they have reduced the number. The remaining three have been proven to hold the highest Nef inhibitor potential.
Collins hopes that in the future, the team could come to reach clinical trials with the new drug. As they are hoping for an AIDS cure, they will also be targeting other diseases.
The researchers hope to continue on the current line of immune system resistant or evading affections. As such, they could come to research other dangerous viruses and treat other affections.
Collins predicted a shift in medical research. She envisions that in coming years, studies will be focused on the virus’s abilities of evading the human immune system.
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