Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Hidden HIV reservoirs exposed by telltale protein

While there have been many attempts to cure HIV, unfortunately none have been successful due to a particular type of immune-system cell that is able to hide the virus. This cell is called a T-cell and a protein called CD32a that sits dormant on the surface of the T-cell has just been uncovered. This protein will now provide researchers with a way to identify the T-cells from the other immune system cells and destroy them. Antiretroviral drugs are able to prevent the virus from spreading throughout the body and immune system by targeting the cells that are actively transcribing the virus genome. The T-cells remain a problem because a small fraction of them remain dormant and are therefore not detected by the antiretroviral drugs or the immune system. This becomes dangerous because if a patient stops taking the antiretroviral drugs, the T-cells could slowly awaken from dormancy and spread the infected genome. Now, using an antibody that is able to stick to the CD32a protein, scientists are able to pull T-cells from a sample of blood from on HIV infected human.
This newly discovered T-cell protein will now pave the way for other research to be done. It seems hopeful that this new discovery will lead scientists closer to a cure than they have ever been before.  
Protein Marker 

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