Here are three different research projects using DNA or genetic testing so researchers can find a cure and/or better treatment options for people infected with HIV/AIDS.
1. Gene Editing Can Remove And Replace Part Of The DNA
Some people can regulate HIV, typically without medicine. In these scarce people (less than 1 percent of people living with HIV), no reproduction of the virus in the bloodstream can be identified after more than 10 years of disease without remedy.
In 2007, scientists from the Institut Pasteur explained the unusual antiviral activity of the CD8 lymphocytes of the patients. The CD8 cells of HIV regulators can quickly kill infected CD4 cells.
Experts from the Institut Pasteur’s HIV, Inflammation and Persistence Unit extended their analysis to identify the specific properties of these cells so that they could confer the same attributes on the cells of non-controller subjects.
The CD8 cells of controllers apparently appear to be similar to those of non-controllers. But the experts showed that they have distinct molecular arrangements. Their research indicates that anti-HIV CD8 cells in controllers not only have substantial antiviral capacity; they are also programmed to remain, whereas, in non-controllers, the cell program predisposes them to depletion and cell death.
The CD8 cells of controllers use a mixture of metabolic resources, bringing in particular on the energy provided by their mitochondria, which allows the cells to persist in situations of stress.
On the other hand, the cells of non-controllers depend on a single energy source (glucose), and they’ve confined mitochondrial activity. The scientists recognized that the antiviral effect of CD8 cells in controllers is related to an optimal program that provides them plasticity in utilizing the cell’s energy resources.
In the laboratory, scientists then headed to stimulate mitochondrial activity in anti-HIV cells of non-controllers. They used a substance discharged by the immune system called interleukin 15 (IL-15) to enhance the mitochondrial activity of non-controllers’ cells and improve their anti-HIV capability. The reprogrammed CD8 cells of non-controllers can kill infected CD4 cells, much like controllers’ cells.
The research demonstrates that even when the anti-HIV CD8 cells of non-controllers are comparatively inefficient in comparison to those of controllers, the gaps could be overcome.
Metabolic reprogramming of immune cells is a procedure that is previously examined in clinical experiments for cancer treatment. The scientists expect to have the capability to check the anti-HIV capabilities of the policy in vivo shortly.
2. Possible New Medication That Works By Suppressing Dormant HIV
However, the potential new drug could complement the current HIV antiretroviral treatment (ART) medications; it might also be possible that it might result in HIV remission without a lifetime of taking ART medicines. The findings issued in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
The HIV virus gets fuse into the genetic coding of the infected person. It sets a permanent dormant infection, creating a significant treatment challenge. As a result of this, current ART medications fail to cure the virus.
When a person stops the medication, the virus essentially always starts to increase and wreak havoc. Drug resistance is also a common health concern with ART medications. Having the ability to produce a sustained HIV remission free of ART is an essential target for HIV therapy.
“We are the first to demonstrate that human BRD4 protein and its related machinery could be limited to control dormant HIV,” stated Haitao Hu, UTMB assistant professor in the division of microbiology and immunology.
The findings are exciting because they not only enhance our understanding of the biology of HIV epigenetic regulation. But they also present a promising approach for the development of probes and/or therapeutic agents for HIV silencing. Hopefully resulting in the cure of the virus eventually.
In the laboratory study, the researchers discovered that the protein BRD4 has a significant role in regulating the creation of new copies of the HIV gene. The group strongly composed, integrated, and evaluated a set of small molecules. To selectively program BRD4 to overcome HIV and recognized a lead compound named ZL0580.
They tested the lead molecule in HIV disease models. They discovered that it significantly inhibited latent HIV reactivation after ART suspension in blood cells of ART-treated, HIV infected individuals.
The researchers will continue to optimize the chemical structure and effectiveness of this class of molecules and lead safety testing in cellular and animal studies. They look forward to the time when they could start clinical trials that this approach can begin to assist HIV-infected individuals.
3. Managing Which Genes Are “On” or “Off” In HIV Cells
“On or Off” gene switch is one of the important switches that the HIV field has been looking for three decades to observe,” said Tariq Rana, Ph.D., professor of pediatrics and genetics at UC San Diego School of Medicine.
The most interesting part of this discovery not noticed before. By genetically altering a long non-coding RNA, we stop HIV recurrence in T cells and microglia upon the end of antiretroviral therapy, implying that we have a potential therapeutic target to eliminate HIV and AIDS.
HIV develops through several bodily fluids, hitting the immune system, and inhibiting the body from fighting off infections. If left untreated, the virus results in the disease of AIDS.
Antiretroviral therapy is most often used to treat and prevent HIV, allowing patients to live healthful and long lives. However, the medication doesn’t cure patients. Instead, the virus stays active in the body. If treatment is stopped, the virus awakens and grows rapidly.
In a study issued an online report that the first genome-wide expression study of long non-coding RNA (lncRNA) in HIV-infected macrophages. Functional immune cells that help muscle inflammation, incite the immune system and clear the body of foreign trash.
Generally speaking, lncRNAs don’t encode the recipe for proteins how other RNAs do. But rather help to regulate which genes turned “on” or “off” in a cell.
The team explained that a single lncRNA dubbed HIV-1 Enhanced LncRNA (HEAL) is raised in people with HIV. HEAL seems to be a lately emerge genetic that modulates HIV replication in immune cells. Like microglia, macrophages, and T cells.
Using a combination of genetic, biochemical, and cellular approaches, they discovered that eliminating or silencing HEAL with CRISPR-Cas9. Prevent HIV from recurring when antiretroviral therapy was ended. Additional research to confirm these effects animal models will be carried out.
Many of us know about DNA testing and finding your ancestors, but the DNA field or genetic testing has grown and maybe the future for curing diseases. The new Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR-Cas9) method is opening doors never thought possible. The question is how long you can go with this study, what are the ethical and moral boundaries to improving or repairing human beings.