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'AIDS cure hope in Stem Cell breaktrough' - London Times

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Rob - Dublin:
Hi Folks,

I have just read and I quote      "That a critical type of immune system cell that fights infection has been grown from human embryonic stem (ES) cells, raising the prospect that master cells could be used to treat AIDS. Scientists have coaxed human ES cells to develop into T-cells which provide one of the body's main defences against disease. The results, from a team at the University of California, Los Angles suggest it could be possible to grow replacement T-cells. Replacing dead T-cells would not cure AIDS as the new cells would be liable to infection but it could slow the progress of the disease's full blown form and 'top up' the immune system. The new T-cells could also fight other conditions in which the immune system malfunctions including severe combined immune deficiency, the 'bubble boy' syndrome., which traps children in a sterile environment.

Human ES cells are taken from early stage human embtyos and have the theoretical capability to form any body tissue, but directing their growth is difficult.

In the study published today in the journal 'proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences', Zoran Galic's team cultured human ES cells with mouse bone marrow support cells creating blood stem cells. Those were injected into a human thymus glandimplanted in a mouse. The gland turned them into T-cells".

Anyone know anymore about this or any thoughts on it or is it just another load of old 'cure' bollocks?

Rob

otherplaces:

Why do they always put 'cure' in the headlines when it's not even close? It just seems like shoddy journalism. I imagine that adding tcells to an advanced AIDS patient would be helpful, but if the new tcells can still be infected it seems largely useless unless you're just out of options. Then what? A tcell infusion every few days?

This seems like a nice step forward in science, but not any sort of breakthrough in hiv treatment.

brian

Bartro:
From what I've read it sounds like they are working on a way to develop a "designer" t-cel that can be constructed to attack a certain disease.  I'm not sure exactly how this would apply to HIV but there is an article here with more about it.

http://www.engr.utexas.edu/news/articles/200602211009/index.cfm

dario:
The only significant new gene-therapy using stem cells in order to control HIV is the the one that includes the enzyme called ribozyme. Researchers believe that if our T-cells are equipped with this "man-made" enzyme, they cannot be infected.  Since the body does not naturally produce this ribozyme researchers came up with a way to cause blood cells to manufacture it. The answer was found in the emerging science of stem cells.

The stem cells chosen for this experiment are not found in human embryos, but grow naturally in bone marrow and float about in our bloodstream. They are literally the source of all blood cells -they morph into the many kinds of white cells that fight infection.

Three months ago here was a lot of talk about this novel approach which is not a cure.  It just checks the virus and keeps the viral load low without the need of drugs.  A certain chap from California was reported to be responding well.  Yet the results will be know in Spring 2007.  It is still to early to speculate on the possibility of using this cumbersome and probably very expensive strategy to combat hiv. 

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