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Anti Gag Drug?

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blondbeauty:
Much is being said about how people who manage top block the Gag protein of the HIV virus have lower viral loads. Instead of developing a vaccine.. Is it possible to develop a drug that blocks that protein.
I prefer drugs than vaccines... ;)

Tim Horn:
I think this is an excellent question.  While I wasn't able to get any information supporting this theory while writing the AIDSmeds.com article on the recent Gag-specific research (http://www.aidsmeds.com/news/am20061227.html), it's not too much of a stretch to think that a therapeutic vaccine that takes advantage of these new data might produce some favorable results.  If a therapeutic vaccine -- an immune-based therapy intended for those who are already infected -- was able to induce robust Gag-specific CD8 cell responses in HIV-positive people, it's possible that we'd enjoy a much slower rate of disease progression (e.g., longer periods of time with high CD4 cell counts, a decreased need for antiretroviral drugs, etc.). 

Of course, this research is still in its infancy.  A lot of work needs to be done to determine if these Gag-specific CD8 cell responses will mean much of anything in vaccine development.... and, as we're discussing these responses here, if they have any therapeutic potential. It may take some time, but this research may take things in an exciting and hopeful direction.

Tim Horn 

blondbeauty:
The article is very interesting. But it seems more focused in developing a vaccine to make CD8 cells capable of attacking the gag protein.
Maybe a drug would be much more simple to develop and not prone to resistance as the Gag protein seems to remain unchanged despite HIV mutations.

Ann:
Oh my goodness...

When I saw the title of this thread and where it was, I thought I was going to have to move it over to Off Topic. You see, I thought you were talking about a different kind of gag. Oooops!

Note to self - New Year's Resolution Number One: Get mind out of gutter. :D

Thank you for the interesting topic Blondie! ;)

Ann

J220:
Too funny Ann....gotta admit that the Gag protein lends itself to a thousand jokes...imagine if this is developed all the way into the cure...

Dumb blond/ brunette/ redhead (take your pick) man/ woman (take your pick) walks into the doctor's office and says,

"I'd like the anti-gag vaccine."

"Sure. How long have you been HIV positive?" the doctor asks, while handing over the forms.

"What?"

"I asked how long you have been HIV positive."

"Oh, no, I'm not hiv positive."

"Then why do you want the vaccine?"

"Well," lowered voice, "for my boyfriend, you know..."

"Oh, I see, he's HIV positive. Then he's the one that has to come here for the shot."

"Him? No, he's not hiv positive either. Why do you ask?"

"I'm afraid I don't understand."

"What's there to understand? I just want the vaccine, that's all."

"Why, if you're not hiv positive?"

"What do you mean? What does hiv have to do with it?"

"The vaccine is for hiv-positive people, of course!"

"Really? But that's not fair!"

"Fair? What are you talking about?"

"Why should should this vaccine be only for hiv positive people? They shouldn't be the only ones able to give oral sex without having a gag reflex!"


(Insert end-of-lame-joke drum sound here.)


Anywayyyyy, getting back to the thread (sorry about that BB), I agree with Tim. This is fresh research, straight out of the oven. I find it encouraging that the first thing the researchers thought about was developing this into a vaccine to promote an effective immunological response. But the question of developing this into a anti-Gag drug is an excellent one, and I wonder if the researchers are looking at that path. I am sure they are.

All in all, yet another small but important step forward. They're getting closer!

Happy New Year everybody, and may '07 be THE year!

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