Researchers at the University of California, San Diego Schools of Medicine have identified “a key switch with the potential of eliminating dormant HIV reservoirs,” ‘Bio Space’ reports.
“This is one of the key switches that the HIV field has been searching for three decades to find,” said Tariq Rana, professor of pediatrics and genetics at UCSF. “The most exciting part of this discovery has not been seen before. By genetically modifying a long noncoding RNA, we prevent HIV recurrence in T-cells and microglia upon cessation of antiretroviral treatment, suggesting that we have a potential therapeutic target to eradicate HIV and AIDS.”
After running experiments, researchers found and focused on a single IncRNA called HEAL which once removed, HIV no longer recurred when antiretroviral treatment was halted.
“Our results suggest that HEAL plays a critical role in HIV pathogenesis,” Rana said. “Further studies are needed to explain the mechanism that leads to HEAL expression after an individual is infected by HIV, but this finding could be exploited as a therapeutic target.”
‘Bio Space’ goes on to write that “this appears to be a major finding, but there have been others recently as well. In August, researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston discovered that the protein BRD4 has a significant role in regulating the production of new copies of the HIV gene. The research group, led by Haitao Hu, assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, designed, synthesized and studied several small molecules to selectively program BRD4 to suppress HIV. They then picked a lead compound, ZL-580, which significantly delayed the reactivation of dormant HIV after antiretroviral therapy was halted.”
Read related myGwork articles here: