Scientists at Stanford University School of Medicine have discovered a new potential means of preventing HIVThe abbreviation for human immunodeficiency virus, which is the cause of AIDS.infectionInvasion by organisms that may be harmful, for example bacteria or parasites..
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the virusA microbe that is only able to multiply within living cells. responsible for AIDSAcquired immune deficiency syndrome, a deficiency of the immune system due to infection with HIV., is notoriously difficult to treat due to its tendency to mutate. The American team, however, have found a way to get around this problem by preventing infection in the first place. The method consists of altering the geneticRelating to the genes, the basic units of genetic material. codes of the specific white bloodA fluid that transports oxygen and other substances through the body, made up of blood cells suspended in a liquid. cells which are targeted by HIV so as to make them naturally resistantA microbe, such as a type of bacteria, that is able to resist the effects of antibiotics or other drugs. to the virus.
The researchers of the study, published in Molecular Therapy, have claimed that this tailored geneThe basic unit of genetic material carried on chromosomes. therapy might ultimately replace current HIV drug treatments, which necessitate patients taking multiple drugs on a daily basis. While not a cure for the virus, this method could potentially prevent the spread of infection and, therefore, the likelihood of AIDS developing.
The treatment could eventually also be applied to other blood based diseases, such as sickle cell anaemiaThe anaemia resulting from sickle cell disease..