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Author Topic: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure  (Read 2856 times)

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Offline Tadeys

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Scientists have completely mapped the structure of the protein that encases HIV's critical genetic information, a development that could eventually lead to new drugs to fight AIDS.

A research team from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine was able to use a supercomputer from the University of Illinois known as "Blue Waters" to reveal "seams" in the HIV's capsid, the protein casing of a virus that holds its DNA. In order to be effective, the capsid has to be strong enough to protect the virus' DNA while it is outside of a host cell, but malleable enough to break open once a virus infects a cell, allowing the virus to reprogram its host.

Scientists have long tried to develop therapies that attack HIV's capsid, but it's so far proved too tough to crack. Its chemical makeup had never been completely described before the University of Pittsburgh study, published Wednesday in Nature.

"HIV's capsid is stable enough to protect the virus' essential components, but it also has to disassociate once it enters the cell," says Peijun Zhang, one of the authors of the study. "Understanding the interface by which it disassociates is important to developing new therapies."

Zhang says that other researchers can now get to work on two possible lines of therapies. They can try to make the capsid "hyperstable" and unable to separate, which would make the virus harmless to humans, or they could make it less stable, destroying the virus before it has a chance to cause damage. Her team discovered a "three-helix bundle" within the capsid that could make a good target for a drug.

"When we saw the structure, we found a very critical interface for the capsid's assembly," she says. "A single amino acid change will lead to the breakdown of it."

Developing long-lasting therapies for HIV has proven difficult because the virus mutates extremely quickly, making nearly every antiviral drug eventually ineffective. By physically targeting the capsid, rather than the virus' DNA itself, researchers believe the virus will be less likely to develop resistances.

"Most therapies target the virus' reverse transcriptase," the process that allows the virus to reproduce, Zhang says. "This is another strategy we can develop drugs against the parts of it that don't mutate as much."

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/05/29/scientists-crack-hiv-coating-leading-to-possible-aids-cure


Offline Tadeys

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Offline georgep77

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2013, 11:49:11 PM »
Another reporter using the word "Cure"
                    :o
Come on Sangamo,  Geovax,  Bionor immuno, ...Make us happy !!!
+ 2008

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 12:26:38 AM »
Another reporter using the word "Cure"
                    :o

I had the same initial reaction, but at least they state "leading to possible" as a preface.
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD
11/03/14 CD4   711/34%   VL UD

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 03:10:48 PM »
Okay, I really start getting pissed off by the inflationary use of the c-word.

The headline of this particularly article mentions 'cure' but the main text does not. WTF? Is this journalism?

I mean, I'm happy they found another piece of the HIV puzzle but even in the best case scenario the findings of this article would lead to a new class of ART drugs and that's it...

Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2013, 03:38:14 PM »
even in the best case scenario the findings of this article would lead to a new class of ART drugs and that's it...

Dr.:  is there a reason why this would only lead to a new class of ART? 

What if the drug(s) that attack the capsid could permeate the reservoirs?  Wouldn't that be a game changer (perhaps in conjunction with other therapies)?

Is the concern that the virus would still be able to replicate with a disrupted capsid?

Thanks,
JM
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD
11/03/14 CD4   711/34%   VL UD

Offline Tadeys

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2013, 03:45:01 PM »
Did you guys see the video I poste on this? Very interesting.

What I got from what I have read is that this find will help in the development of anti-mutation drugs. Hopefully. And this will be HUGE. Imagine just being able to take ONE drug instead of the 3/4 we normally take; also, this would be also great to all those on salvage meds...

And also, I think by targetting the core,  these drugs can target HIV itself as it floats in blood, as opposed to targetting enzymes in cells...so possibly,  this can lead to further reservoir reduction. We will know in about 6/7 years. :)

Correct me if I wrong about this last point...

Offline buginme2

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2013, 04:01:12 PM »
Okay, I really start getting pissed off by the inflationary use of the c-word.

The headline of this particularly article mentions 'cure' but the main text does not. WTF? Is this journalism?

I mean, I'm happy they found another piece of the HIV puzzle but even in the best case scenario the findings of this article would lead to a new class of ART drugs and that's it...

Me too.   

I wish we could celebrate the accomplishment for what it is.  This is a great discovery.  The fact that some computer was able to decifer the structure of the capsids 64 million atoms is astonishing and in itself is awesome.  Why take a perfectly impressive accomplishment and then sensationalize it to something it's not. 

Don't be fancy, just get dancey

Offline 2blessed

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2013, 11:37:56 PM »
Have breakthroughs normally come this fast? I'm newly diagnosed but it seems like alot is being discovered very quickly

Offline Tadeys

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  • Posts: 162
Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 12:34:58 AM »
That's a question I wanted to ask the long term servivors on this site. Since the past year and a half, about every 1/2 weeks we read something promising on HIV. Were these "breakthroughs" far and wide or same as now? If I remember correctly, there was real optimism in 1994/1995 with ART, but then they realised they were dealing with reservoirs, so basic sxience research on HIV cure faded somewhat by 2000.

comparing the science we have today, 2013, to the science we had 20, 15, even 5 years ago, it seems that today scientist are better at predicting how a therapy might work in vivo.

It took science 45 years to finally make a polio vaccine...HIV is a million times more complex then polio. At the 24 year mark (2009) we got a vaccine that was 31% effective. Has anybody been reading up on the vaccine technology that has come out these past 3/4 years? Its light years ahead of what we had in 2000.


Offline Jmarksto

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 01:12:15 AM »
While I am not a LTS, I do believe there have been quite a few "fits and starts" over the years -- which has lead to a culture of not using the C word.  One only has to look back through the past forums here to see some of the examples, and how long some of these "advancements" have been playing out.

There is also a big misconception that basic science breakthroughs are going to lead to improved treatment in the short (or even mid) term -- and what we have been seeing are advancements in the basic science.  Given some of the failures on the drug development side (which is where more private investment comes from) we are seeing more cautious investment on the treatment development stages, and therefore it will take longer for the scientific advancements to lead to treatment improvements.

I believe that the scientific community and the popular press have a strange symbiotic relationship in this misconception.  I don't think the scientific community really likes the misconception -- but they sure love the press and how it promotes their institution (which leads to more prestige, which leads to better staff, which leads to more funding,...).  So while these advancements are truly remarkable, they are definitely overplayed -- but hey, that is what sells newspapers (or "clicks").
03/15/12 Negative
06/15/12 Positive
07/11/12 CD4 790          VL 4,000
08/06/12 CD4 816/38%   VL 49,300
08/20/12 Started Complera
11/06/12 CD4   819/41% VL 38
02/11/13 CD4   935/41% VL UD
06/06/13 CD4   816/41% VL UD
10/28/13 CD4 1131/45%  VL 25
02/25/14 CD4   792/37%  VL UD
07/09/14 CD4 1004/39%   VL UD
11/03/14 CD4   711/34%   VL UD

Offline Jeff G

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  • How am I doing Beren ?
Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 10:17:21 AM »
The early days before there was an internet to get information from we were pretty much at the mercy of CNN or the local news . I used to get excited when the word Aids was said over the TV hoping that I was going to hear something hopeful , something hopeful rarely was reported , it was all pretty much fear and scenes of decimated body's .

I think it was in 1987 that I moved to Chicago and at some point I stumbled upon TPAN , http://www.tpan.com/ . At this organization was the first time I was able to read research on HIV , they had a huge up to date library there that I used to spend hours reading in . At some point I turned away from looking for news of a cure mostly because I knew I would hear if they found one and there was more important things to spend my time on if I were to make a difference .

As a LTS we reacted to what we had to do at the moment , whether it be activism or coming out of the HIV closet and doing education . We also took care of the sick and dieing and raised money to feed and house people in our community .

I'm just as interested in a cure or promising research as anyone but from where I have been I believe my efforts are better spent trying to help people live a better life despite HIV . Every time a person is educated about HIV a little bit of stigma is eradicated , every time a person is convinced to test or get into treatment a life can be saved and now since its been proven that treatment is prevention outreach and testing takes on a whole new meaning and urgency .     

Offline Skydrake

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 05:39:42 AM »
They mapped the capsid, not the viral envelope. Macrophages and T cells can't see the capsid of a whole virus in the bood.

Ergo:
" Leading to Possible AIDS Cure" = "Leading to possibile new antiretrovirals"

And new antiretrovirals are very welcomed, but they are not a C word.
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 05:41:51 AM by Skydrake »

Offline Dr.Strangelove

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Re: Scientists Crack HIV Coating, Leading to Possible AIDS Cure
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2013, 09:15:38 PM »
They mapped the capsid, not the viral envelope. Macrophages and T cells can't see the capsid of a whole virus in the bood.

Ergo:
" Leading to Possible AIDS Cure" = "Leading to possibile new antiretrovirals"

And new antiretrovirals are very welcomed, but they are not a C word.
Exactly.

Solving the structure of the capsid (btw, the structure of the monomers as well as the general shape of the capsid were known since a long time ago. This new study seems to be more of a 'answering the last questions' kind of thing.)
I don't want to diminish the magnitude of their research at all but attaching the 'C'-word to each and every step forward in the HIV puzzle is just not helpful.

I wish we could celebrate the accomplishment for what it is.  This is a great discovery.  The fact that some computer was able to decifer the structure of the capsids 64 million atoms is astonishing and in itself is awesome.  Why take a perfectly impressive accomplishment and then sensationalize it to something it's not. 
Yes!

I wish the media would limit their sensationalism. Each and every time, giving false hopes to many people affected by HIV.
And I wish the readers would stop thinking in black and white; that a new piece of research is either meaningless / obsolete or a world-changing discovery that will lead to a cure in the near future.


(Then again, who am I kidding. Didn't I quit research once I realized that I will never win the Nobel Prize?  ;) )

 


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