Saturday, April 14, 2012

Can Engineered Stem Cells Kill HIV Cells ?

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What is HIV all about? Human immunodeficiency virus is a condition which causes progressive failure of immune system and allows dangerous infections and cancers to prosper. Infection with HIV is caused by transfer of blood, semen, vaginal fluids and breast milk. The major routes of transmission include unsafe sex, contaminated needles, breast milk and from an infected mother to child.

The latest story about this topic is that scientist at ULCA have proved that engineered stem cells can really attack HIV infected cells in a living organism. In a previous study researchers found that killer T cells contain T cell receptors which help the killer cells to identify and kill the HIV infected cells. But the sad part was that their numbers were not sufficient to clear the virus from the body.

But the present study can be said as a boon in many ways. The researchers cloned the T receptors and used it to engineer genetically human blood stem cells. These cells were placed in human thymus tissue and implanted into mice. Long story cut short these cells developed into large number of mature cells that could specifically target cells containing HIV proteins. But one thing is that the HIV specific T cell receptors should be a perfect match to the individual in order to kill the virus.

Now the next step of the researchers will be to make T cell receptors target different parts of HIV and which can be used in more genetically matched individuals. The scientists believe that this method will be efficient in eradicating the HIV virus from the body of infected persons. Let us hope and pray that they should be successful in their attempt.