HERV Virus Target For HIV Vaccine – University of California San Francisco Research AIDs Vaccination or Possible Treatment

HERV Virus Target For HIV Vaccine – University of California San Francisco Research AIDs Vaccination or Possible Treatment

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(Best Syndication) Scientists at the University of California in San Francisco (UCSF) and the University of Toronto say they have found a possible target for treating HIV infections. Their research suggests that HIV could enable HERV expression in cells. HERV (human endogenous retroviruses) is a remnant of an ancient virus that has become part of every human cell.

There is evidence that suggests HIV infection could enable HERV expression by disrupting the normal controls that keep HERV in check. Some patients are able to use their “infection fighting T-cells” to target HERV expressing cells.

Since HIV constantly mutates, the disease has been especially hard to fight. The researchers say that if they can find other ways for the immune system to target HIV-infected cells, they can overcome the problem in making an HIV vaccine. Keith E. Garrison, PhD, post-doctoral fellow in UCSF’s Division of Experimental Medicine says HERV may provide a good target to test.

The T-cells that recognize HIV are different than the ones that recognize HERV. "HIV is poorly contained by the immune system, resulting in disease progression in most people,” the authors wrote. “In contrast, infection with cytomegalovirus (CMV) is generally controlled for life. HERV specific T-cells have more features in common with T-cells that kill CMV, than with T-cells that kill HIV. This is an encouraging finding which suggests that HERV specific T-cells may be more effective than HIV specific T-cells in controlling virus."

It is uncertain whether the research will lead to a treatment, but it may help scientists develop a vaccine. A vaccine against HERV antigens could stimulate T-cells to recognized HIV itself. They say it would evoke a “cellular response” that could protect people or limit the damage caused by HIV.

By Marsha Quinn
Best Syndication News Health Writer

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