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Author Topic: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?  (Read 1896 times)

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Offline zephyr

  • Member
  • Posts: 459
    • Zephyr L.T.N.P. Foundation, Inc.
Hello AM Readers...

Partners AIDS Research, Boston, and Dr. Bruce Walker have been written about by Laura Whitehorn in this month's issue of POZ Magazine...for those of you following the story about 'Elite and Viremic Controllers', you may find this interesting.

In the past three years, since my initial enrollment in this study, I have learned that the research 'wheel' turns ever so slowly. But when I read this piece, entitled "The Elite Meet", it gave me another surge of hope toward a major breakthrough.

http://www.poz.com/articles/elite_meet_2046_12773.shtml

"THE ELITE MEET"  By Laura Whitehorn

"Bruce Walker, MD, wants HIV-positive immune systems to exert a little self-control. "The immune system is able to contain other viruses," says Walker, widely known for his ground-breaking work on the subject. He is investigating how it can do that for HIV.

The answer may lie within the genes of those positive people who manage HIV without taking meds--some for more than 25 years so far. These folks fall into two groups--either Viremic (viral loads consistently under 2,000 for at least one no-med year) or elite controllers (viral load consistently below 50 without meds). Walker and his team are looking for more members of both groups to fill out his HIV elite controllers study.

In June, Walker, director of Boston's Partner's AIDS Research Center, said, "We began genotyping the DNA of the first 600 controllers," including 300 viremic and 300 elite, pluss 900 progressors, or positive people who do not need meds.

Comparing these genetic profiles may reveal, for example, why some people's immune systems seek out certain HIV surface proteins. "For each person we will get 650,000 pieces of data," Walker says. Initial results from the first round were expected in August. Paul de Bakker, PhD, statistical geneticist on the study, adds that the small pool (fewer than 1,000 people) "limits our statistical ability to find the [relevant] variants." More particpants (you could qualifyif you've been off meds for at least a year now) would produce more significant results. Walker estimates that some 25% of all positive people may fit the trial criteria.

To join this study, you don't have to travel--just your blood sample does. Your doc sends it off with a bit of your treatment history. Your participation may help unlock the secrets of HIV treatment--and potential vaccines."

Call 617-726-5536 or email: elitecontrollerstudy@partners.org

I would publicly like to thank POZ Magazine & Laura Whitehorn for their continued coverage of this important study!

As of this morning, the intial findings report will be delayed two to three weeks from today.



Keeping the faith,

Zephyr

"It is character that communicates most eloquently."

Offline redhotmuslbear

  • Member
  • Posts: 605
  • A genuine certified freak of nature, and a hot one
Re: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?
« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2007, 09:29:35 PM »
Honestly, speaking as "one of them," I do not find that column to be anything more than a droll press appeal for more volunteers, with a loaded stat about one-fourth of HIVers being controllers.  If that number was more than highly hypothetical, we were have more friends who made it through the 80s and 90s, and more HIVers would not be hitting the current thresholds for imposing HAART.  The numbers I head in my travels with "CD8-mediated immunity" are closer to 2%. 

As for the future of therapies based on the EC research and similar studies, it would be gene-based and long to market. Recent drama with gene-based therapies for other life-threatening conditions suggests that any further gene-based treatments will face tough scrutiny, even tougher when tinkering with the immune system.

Yes, EC is exciting, but I do not expect therapeutic advances based on it to be available for at least 20 years.  In the meantime and for many years after, governments and their citizens need to keep their wits about them and rely on risk reduction strategies to combat HIV.

Peace,
David
"The real problem is not whether machines think but whether men do." - BF Skinner
12-31-09   222wks VL  2430 CD4 690 (37%)
09-30-09   208wks VL  2050  CD4 925 (42%)
06-25-08   143wks VL  1359  CD4 668 (32%)  CD8 885
02-11-08   123wks off meds:  VL 1364 CD4 892(40%/0.99 ratio)
10-19-07   112wks off meds:   VL 292  CD4 857(37%/0.85 ratio)

One copy of delta-32 for f*****d up CCR5 receptors, and an HLA B44+ allele for "CD8-mediated immunity"... beteer than winning Powerball, almost!

Offline emeraldize

  • Member
  • Posts: 3,335
Re: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?
« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2007, 11:36:45 PM »
Honestly, speaking as "one of them," I do not find that column to be anything more than a droll press appeal for more volunteers, with a loaded stat about one-fourth of HIVers being controllers.  If that number was more than highly hypothetical, we were have more friends who made it through the 80s and 90s, and more HIVers would not be hitting the current thresholds for imposing HAART.  The numbers I head in my travels with "CD8-mediated immunity" are closer to 2%.  ...

Yes, EC is exciting, but I do not expect therapeutic advances based on it to be available for at least 20 years.  In the meantime and for many years after, governments and their citizens need to keep their wits about them and rely on risk reduction strategies to combat HIV.

Peace,
David

As a VC, study participant and realist, I appreciated your candor and agree on all points. Do I hope it's less than 20 years? Yes. Most important, your assertion as to where the focus should remain is key...prevention. It may be of interest to know Walker's research has favorably affected the precious microbicides research. 

Em

Offline bimazek

  • Member
  • Posts: 781
Re: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2007, 01:51:54 PM »

I interviewed one of thier researchers, I think there is tremendous excitement of breakthroughs things are coming together like they never did in the past 20 years

all the hard basic research and tech are paying off

they are so so so close

truly it is very close

Offline Miss Philicia

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  • Posts: 23,900
  • celebrity poster, faker & poser
Re: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2007, 03:52:46 PM »
You "interviewed" someone, bim?  Is this for a publication or what?
"Iíve slept with enough men to know that Iím not gay"

Offline thunter34

  • Member
  • Posts: 7,305
  • His name is Carl.
Re: Elite Controllers--Are their genetic mysteries about to crack HIV's Code?
« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2007, 03:57:46 PM »
You "interviewed" someone, bim?  Is this for a publication or what?

Yes, do tell...
AIDS isn't for sissies.

 


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