Study: Enzyme seen to scrub HIV from cells
Posted by pozlife on July 6, 2007
published Monday, July 2, 2007
Scientists in Germany have discovered a way to remove the HIV virus from infected cells, the Associated Press reported.
The study, published in Science magazine, involved a newly engineered enzyme that attacks the DNA of the virus and cuts it from infected cells.
“A customized enzyme that effectively excises integrated HIV-1 from infected cells in vitro might one day help to eradicate (the) virus from AIDS patients,” Alan Engelman, of Harvard University’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institude, wrote in an article accompanying the study, AP reported.
The study’s authors say the the enzyme, called Tre, won’t be available as a treatment any time in the near future, but say it’s a step forward in the fight 40 million infected people face worldwide.
The enzyme’s method of finding the HIV virus’ DNA might be the key to solving what the article calls a substantial obstacle — the virus’ ability to go undetected for several months or years because of its occasional dormancy within infected cells. Still, barriers remain before the enzyme can be made publicly available.
“The most important, and likely most difficult, among these is that the enzyme would need efficient and safe means of delivery and would have to be able to function without adverse side effects,” wrote Indrani Sarkar of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden, the lead author of the Science article.
“Nevertheless, the results we present offer an early proof of principal for this type of approach, which we speculate might form a useful basis for the development of future HIV therapies,” Sarkar wrote. (The Advocate)