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Old 12-03-2004, 08:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Breakthrough in AIDS Supression

Quote:
Human Test: Novel Vaccine Stops HIV

Treatment Turns On Anti-HIV Immunity, Holds AIDS Virus in Check

By Daniel DeNoon
WebMD Medical News Reviewed By Charlotte Grayson, MD
on Monday, November 29, 2004
More From WebMD

Learn More About HIV and AIDS

How HIV Causes AIDS

How HIV Is Treated

Nov. 29, 2004 -- It worked in mice. It worked in monkeys. And now in humans, a therapeutic vaccine has stopped HIV in its tracks.

The vaccine is made from a patient's own dendritic cells and HIV isolated from the patient's own blood. Dendritic cells are crucial to the immune response. They grab foreign bodies in the blood and present them to other immune cells to trigger powerful immune system responses to destroy the foreign invaders.

HIV infection normally turns these important immune system responses off. But animal studies show that when dendritic cells are "loaded" with whole, killed AIDS viruses, they can trigger effective immune responses that keep infected animals from dying of AIDS.

Wei Lu, Jean-Marie Andrieu, and colleagues at the University of Paris in France and Pernambuco Federal University in Recife, Brazil, tested the vaccine on 18 Brazilian patients. All had HIV infection for at least a year. Their T-cell counts -- a crucial measure of AIDS progression -- were dropping, meaning their disease was worsening. None was taking anti-HIV medications.

After getting three under-the-skin injections of the tailor-made vaccine, the amount of HIV in the patients' blood (called the viral load) dropped by 80%. After a year, eight of the 18 patients still had a 90% drop in HIV levels. All patients' T-cell counts stopped dropping.

The findings appear in the December issue of Nature Medicine.

"The results suggest that [these] vaccines could be a promising strategy for treating people with chronic HIV infection," Andrieu and colleagues write. "The significant decrease of viral load as well as maintenance of ... [T-]cell counts observed at one year after immunization are particularly promising."

The researchers warn that their study is only proof of principle. It's still not clear which patients do best with the vaccine, although there's evidence that vaccination should be given as soon after HIV infection as possible. Only clinical trials comparing people who get the vaccine to those who don't can show whether this vaccine really is an effective AIDS therapy.

Similar approaches are being explored for the treatment of cancer and long-term viral infections such as hepatitis C.

http://my.webmd.com/content/Article/97/104268.htm
Wouldn't that make for an increase in unprotected sex?
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Old 12-03-2004, 10:47 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes, and in fact the three drub cocktails caused that same reaction in the mid 90's. In the 80's being diagnosed with HIV was a death sentance. In the 90's it became a manageable condition and while concern was still high deaths and new infections were holding steady or declining. However, early on in this century the infection rates are climbing again. The current younger generations who have become sexually and socially aware after the 80's did not see the damage this virus caused. Pair this with the drug de jeur in the club scene (Crystal Meth) and you start seeing the infection rates rising again.

I just saw a news clip on this subject focusing mostly on NY and SF.

On a side note, currently I am dating a doctor and we are just getting our STD screenings. Interestingly she is more concerned with Hepatitis than with HIV.
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Old 12-03-2004, 01:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LoganSnake
Wouldn't that make for an increase in unprotected sex?
Sad but true. I am extremely happy that there is finally some kind of promising breakthrough concerning HIV. Its kinda a shame that the treatment has to be tailor made for each individual person, and isn't something that can be handed out to everyone (not that this would happen anyway, its all about the $, fuck saving lives) but its still great news.

FYI for those who don't know, there are people are born immune to the effect of HIV. HIV attatches itself to a very specific "socket" on white blood cells. Not everyone has this "socket" and are therefore immune to the effects of the virus. I think some drugs they have already block this socket so HIV cant connect to the white blood cells as well and turn them into a factory for making more HIV. (the virus connects to the cell and then uses the cell to replicate itself)
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Old 12-03-2004, 09:53 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I agree with everyone else thus far. That's why we need to spend more efforts on preventive care and education about the problems. What we have in place thus far is insufficient.
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