Discovery gives hope for AIDS cure
7 Healthcast: Discovery gives hope for AIDS cure
LOS ANGELES (WHDH) -- Scientists at UCLA say they have found a way to turn stem cells into cells that can fight deadly viruses.
Researchers say the discovery could one day potentially lead to a cure for AIDS, cancer, and other deadly viruses.
They figured out how to engineer stem cells taken from adult blood, and turn them into immune cells that attack and kill the HIV virus.
The breakthrough surprised even them.
"We knew the results were coming down the pike and when they finally came out we looked at it and went ‘well, that's pretty good!’" Dr. Jerome Zack said.
So far the technique has been successful in attacking HIV in hundreds of lab mice.
"We haven't developed the technology to clear them of HIV but they are significantly suppressed in the amount of virus that's replicating," Dr. Scott Kitchen said.
Researchers say human clinical trials are the next step. If those prove successful, the technique could be available to patients in about ten years.
Jim Chud has been living with HIV for 35 years. He takes more than 20 pills a day just to stay alive and says the breakthrough is a ray of hope he's long been dreaming of.
"I think it's great,” he said. “If I had a chance, I'd volunteer for that kind of study in a heartbeat. You know, I think it should give anybody that's newly infected a lot of hope."
The same team of scientists had already shown that it was possible to create cells that seek out and destroy HIV, but this is the first time they have done it in a living organism.
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