CANCER TREATMENT CLEARS TWO AUSTRALIAN PATIENTS OF HIV

Researchers have discovered that two HIV+ Australian men who were treated with stem cell transplant for cancer — one for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the other for leukaemia — have become virus-free, presumably because the donor cells carried genes that confer immunity from it.
hey are still on antiretroviral therapy (ART) “as a precaution”, but those drugs alone could not be responsible for bringing the virus to such low levels, says David Cooper, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the discovery. A year ago, a different group of researchers had reported cases with a similar outcome.
Cooper presented details of the cases today at a press briefing in Melbourne, Australia, where delegates are convening for next week’s 20th International AIDS Conference. The announcement came just a day after the news that at least six people heading to the conference died when a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down in Ukraine.

The HIV virus (yellow particles), seen on a white blood cell in this scanning electron micrograph. by Thomas Deernick, NCMIR

CANCER TREATMENT CLEARS TWO AUSTRALIAN PATIENTS OF HIV

Researchers have discovered that two HIV+ Australian men who were treated with stem cell transplant for cancer — one for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the other for leukaemia — have become virus-free, presumably because the donor cells carried genes that confer immunity from it.

hey are still on antiretroviral therapy (ART) “as a precaution”, but those drugs alone could not be responsible for bringing the virus to such low levels, says David Cooper, director of the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, who led the discovery. A year ago, a different group of researchers had reported cases with a similar outcome.

Cooper presented details of the cases today at a press briefing in Melbourne, Australia, where delegates are convening for next week’s 20th International AIDS Conference. The announcement came just a day after the news that at least six people heading to the conference died when a Malaysia Airlines flight was shot down in Ukraine.

  • The HIV virus (yellow particles), seen on a white blood cell in this scanning electron micrograph. by Thomas Deernick, NCMIR

NEW GEL AS POTENTIAL THERAPEUTIC TOOLS IN HIV INHIBITION

One of the most anticipated tools in preventing HIV are microbicide gels. Now researchers at the University of Alcalá and the Gregorio Marañón Hospital in Madrid have achieved demonstrate their efficacy in rodents. Foul try it in other animal species and, if the results are positive, would enter the human trial phase.

The active substance is a dendrimer 2G-S16, a type of nanoscopic molecule that blocks infection of epithelial cells and the immune system against HIV. The virus has a protein recognizes a receptor on the cell membrane to fuse with it and begin the infection process. The dendrimer blocks such proteins, preventing the entry of the virus into cells.

The gel is nontoxic and after application may have efficacy in protecting against HIV between 18 and 24 hours, during which they could have sex without contagion. Besides inhibiting the virus and halt its spread, one of the added values ​​of the product is that it has anti-inflammatory properties, preventing the arrival of cells can be infected at the focus of inflammation, thus reducing the possibility of HIV infection. Furthermore, the gel does not alter the vaginal flora, no irritation and no altering sperm motility and therefore would not affect fertility.

explore-blog

There is some evidence that meditation boosts the immune response in vaccine recipients and people with cancer, protects against a relapse in major depression, soothes skin conditions and even slows the progression of HIV. Meditation might even slow the aging process. Telomeres, the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, get shorter every time a cell divides and so play a role in aging. Clifford Saron of the Center for Mind and Brain at the University of California, Davis, and colleagues showed in 2011 that levels of an enzyme that builds up telomeres were higher in people who attended a three-month meditation retreat than in a control group.

As with social interaction, meditation probably works largely by influencing stress response pathways. People who meditate have lower cortisol levels, and one study showed they have changes in their amygdala, a brain area involved in fear and the response to threat.

Fascinating read on the science behind how our minds affect our bodies, from loneliness to optimism to meditation (via explore-blog)
mindblowingscience
scipak:

Sugar-Loving Antibodies May Pave Way for HIV Vaccines
Rare, recently discovered antibodies that bind to sugars could potentially be used to make an effective HIV vaccine, a new study reports. Studying mice, the research team found that the antibodies don’t recognize particular sugars but will latch on to any nearby sugar. This trait, which the authors call “promiscuity,” is in part what allows sugar-loving antibodies to broadly target multiple strains of HIV. Mimicking this promiscuity effect in future vaccine design and therapeutic antibody development could be a promising method to squelch HIV.
Read more about this research from the 16 May issue of Science Translational Medicine here.
[Photo © Chris Bickel/Science Translational Medicine]
© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

scipak:

Sugar-Loving Antibodies May Pave Way for HIV Vaccines

Rare, recently discovered antibodies that bind to sugars could potentially be used to make an effective HIV vaccine, a new study reports. Studying mice, the research team found that the antibodies don’t recognize particular sugars but will latch on to any nearby sugar. This trait, which the authors call “promiscuity,” is in part what allows sugar-loving antibodies to broadly target multiple strains of HIV. Mimicking this promiscuity effect in future vaccine design and therapeutic antibody development could be a promising method to squelch HIV.

Read more about this research from the 16 May issue of Science Translational Medicine here.

[Photo © Chris Bickel/Science Translational Medicine]

© 2014 American Association for the Advancement of Science. All Rights Reserved.

mindblowingscience
ucsdhealthsciences:

HIV Transmission Networks Mapped to Reduce Infection Rate
Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have mapped the transmission network of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in San Diego. The mapping of HIV infections, which used genetic sequencing, allowed researchers to predictively model the likelihood of new HIV transmissions and identify persons at greatest risk for transmitting the virus.
The findings are published online in the June 5 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.
“The more we understand the structure and dynamics of an HIV transmission network, the better we can identify ‘hot spots’ of transmission,” said Susan Little, MD, professor of medicine at the UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center and lead author of the study.
“Not everyone who is HIV-infected is equally likely to transmit the infection to others. There are clusters of more active disease transmission. We can use this information to target treatment interventions to those most likely to transmit the virus to others and markedly reduce the number of new infections.”
The researchers analyzed the HIV-1 sequence data from recently HIV-1 infected persons and their sexual and social contacts in San Diego, between 1996 and 2011. Sequence data were collected as part of routine HIV genetic testing used to determine if a virus is resistant to certain classes of HIV medications. Genetic similarities between viral sequences infecting different people were compared.  Viruses from two people with a high degree of genetic similarity were suggestive of a transmission link. The scientists noted that viral similarity does not independently prove that a transmission occurred, only that the individuals are part of a closely connected transmission network.
Within the observed HIV transmission network, researchers calculated a transmission network score (TNS) to estimate the risk of HIV transmission from a newly diagnosed individual to a new partner. Participants with a high TNS were significantly more likely than those with low TNS to develop a close linkage to another person within their first year of HIV infection, suggestive of onward transmission.
Through network modeling, investigators showed that using this information to deploy antiretroviral therapy (ART) to individuals with the highest TNS resulted in a significantly greater likelihood of reduced new HIV-1 transmissions than providing ART to the same number of randomly selected individuals.
“Focusing our prevention and treatment resources to the populations at greatest risk of transmission could dramatically reduce the number of new infections associated with these populations,” said Little. “Used in conjunction with traditional partner services, TNS-guided treatment and prevention interventions could markedly lower rates of new HIV infection in our community.”
Pictured: HIV particles on a cell. Thomas Deerinck, UCSD NCMIR

ucsdhealthsciences:

HIV Transmission Networks Mapped to Reduce Infection Rate

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have mapped the transmission network of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in San Diego. The mapping of HIV infections, which used genetic sequencing, allowed researchers to predictively model the likelihood of new HIV transmissions and identify persons at greatest risk for transmitting the virus.

The findings are published online in the June 5 issue of the journal PLOS ONE.

“The more we understand the structure and dynamics of an HIV transmission network, the better we can identify ‘hot spots’ of transmission,” said Susan Little, MD, professor of medicine at the UC San Diego AntiViral Research Center and lead author of the study.

“Not everyone who is HIV-infected is equally likely to transmit the infection to others. There are clusters of more active disease transmission. We can use this information to target treatment interventions to those most likely to transmit the virus to others and markedly reduce the number of new infections.”

The researchers analyzed the HIV-1 sequence data from recently HIV-1 infected persons and their sexual and social contacts in San Diego, between 1996 and 2011. Sequence data were collected as part of routine HIV genetic testing used to determine if a virus is resistant to certain classes of HIV medications. Genetic similarities between viral sequences infecting different people were compared.  Viruses from two people with a high degree of genetic similarity were suggestive of a transmission link. The scientists noted that viral similarity does not independently prove that a transmission occurred, only that the individuals are part of a closely connected transmission network.

Within the observed HIV transmission network, researchers calculated a transmission network score (TNS) to estimate the risk of HIV transmission from a newly diagnosed individual to a new partner. Participants with a high TNS were significantly more likely than those with low TNS to develop a close linkage to another person within their first year of HIV infection, suggestive of onward transmission.

Through network modeling, investigators showed that using this information to deploy antiretroviral therapy (ART) to individuals with the highest TNS resulted in a significantly greater likelihood of reduced new HIV-1 transmissions than providing ART to the same number of randomly selected individuals.

“Focusing our prevention and treatment resources to the populations at greatest risk of transmission could dramatically reduce the number of new infections associated with these populations,” said Little. “Used in conjunction with traditional partner services, TNS-guided treatment and prevention interventions could markedly lower rates of new HIV infection in our community.”

Pictured: HIV particles on a cell. Thomas Deerinck, UCSD NCMIR