Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research believe that their genetically engineered stem cells are going to be a ‘potential cure for AIDS’. Their treatment prevents the onset of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) caused by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection. This is a cure for AIDS, not for the HIV infection itself.
HIV is a virus that attacks the body’s T-cells which are a key component of a healthy immune system. The virus impairs the ability of T-cells to fight off infections, and slowly destroys the immune system which leads to a condition known as AIDS. After the onset of AIDS the body is unable to fight off infections that a normal person wouldn’t have to worry about in their daily life, these infections could potentially be life threatening for individuals with AIDS. There are more than 34 million people living with HIV worldwide, most of them are from the lower levels of society, and in 2011, more than 2 million people were infected with HIV.
Scientists at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research have come up with a protein that stops the virus’ ability to attack the T-cells and subsequently keeps it from destroying the immune system. This treatment is going to be administered via stem cells; stem cells are going to be taken from the patient, which are then going to be genetically engineered with the HIV fighting protein. The genetically engineered stem cells will be released back into the patient’s system which are effectively going to fend off the HIV infection and keep it from destroying the immune system.The treatment will help people with HIV to prevent the onset of AIDS, and thanks to the help of stem cells, repair the damage that’s been done by the virus. This amazing treatment will generate healthy immune system which is going to help people with HIV lead almost a normal life without the help of other drugs.
So far, these genetically engineered stem cells have been effective in stopping the growth of the virus in the petri dish, and they hope to begin trials in animals soon. The new ‘cure’ for AIDS performed strongly outside the body, and the scientists believe that they’re going to see positive results when they start animal trials. Clinical trials in humans are a long way away, but this new ‘cure’ for AIDS is a new glimmer of hope for those affected by the condition, and hope to live a normal life.