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Thread: HIV virus used to turn white blood cells into cancer serial killers

  1. #1

    HIV virus used to turn white blood cells into cancer serial killers

    The HIV virus may be about to become a new weapon in the fight against cancer as initial tests have shown it can drastically minimize and even help cure the most common form of leukemia.
    A research team, led by Dr. Carl June working out of the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania, has been experimenting with using a harmless version of the HIV virus combined with genetically modified white blood cells as a new way to fight cancer. The cells are taken from patients and modified with new genes that make them target cancer cells, but just as importantly, they can also multiply once injected allowing them to scale up as a small army inside the body.
    The results have surprised everyone. These modified cells have acted like serial killers, multiplying and killing all of the cancer cells in two patients, while reducing them by 70% in a third. The equivalent of five pounds of cancer cells has disappeared from each patient. More good news stems from the fact that the modified cells remain in the body and have been seen to reactivate and kill new cancer cells as long as 12 months after they were first injected.
    Usually leukemia is treated with medication, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and in some cases bone marrow transplants, all of which can have side effects and complications. This new treatment involves a single injection and the modified white blood cells do the rest of the work. If the same results seen in these first 3 patients are mirrored across a larger group it could signal a huge step forward in the treatment of a disease that currently kills hundreds of thousands of adults and children every year.
    Han: "We are all ready to win, just as we are born knowing only life. It is defeat that you must learn to prepare for"

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    Interesting article. I might have to dig for more information on how they came up with a "harmless version of the HIV virus."

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by David Berg View Post
    Interesting article. I might have to dig for more information on how they came up with a "harmless version of the HIV virus."
    There are different strands, this one is likely created by the scientists in their lab. I read this online:

    Dan_Nguyen 513 days ago | link

    It's very harmless. Obviously there's a good number more technical details in here, but the gist of it is we take the parts of the HIV virus that makes it so good at proliferating, take out the genetic material that makes it harmful to our cells, and put in our own genetic information for the HIV-derived virus to inject into our target cells (known as a viral vector).

    Contrary to the mental connotation, it's a very harmless procedure that's often used even in BSL-2 labs. It's not to say that there aren't risks involved, but chances are you're not going to end up with AIDs. HIV-derived lentiviruses have been in use for a long time now and are a proven research tool. Coincidentally I just grew and harvested a new batch of lentiviruses this past Tuesday to treat cancer cells with shRNA.

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    Thanks for the info, Todd.

  5. #5
    Senior Member zagam's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
    Western Australia - Hammer wielding daemon
    Regular AIDS may now be a tiny bit more manageable than some cancers? I will ask my daughter who is is radiation oncology registrar how bad it would want to be before you need to look at this option. They do bone marrow transplants, including ones meant to cause graft versus host to stop the cancer as may be pretty desparate. HIV without AIDS would be better.

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