Dr. Blackwell's BLOG

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Research Shows HIV Lives in Marrow

Filed under: Nursing Science — Dr. Christopher Blackwell @ 22:39

View Image┬áThe Associated Press released a summary of a research article appearing in this week’s Nature Medicine by University of Michigan scientist Dr. Kathleen Collins indicating HIV can lie dormant and become reinfective. This is big news. A few years ago I attended a very informative HIV research conference where a top researcher from Johns Hopkins was studying the life cycle of the HIV retrovirus. At the time, there was hope that if HIV could be suppressed for a 3-month period, the virus could effectively die and theoretically, an infected person might be able to sercovert back to a negative┬áserostatus. However, this new data essentially destroys that theory:

“The virus is dormant in the bone marrow cells,” she said, “but when those progenitor cells develop into blood cells, it can be reactivated and cause renewed infection. The virus kills the new blood cells and then moves on to infect other cells. If we’re ever going to be able to find a way to get rid of the cells, the first step is to understand where a latent infection can continue,” Collins said. This indicates that unless HIV can be killed where it lies dormant, and as these data show, that includes the bone marrow, antiretroviral medications will not be able to fully cure HIV infection.

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