Since the detection of HIV virus in 1983, scientists and researchers are trying hard to invent and explore effective weapons to fight with the deadly disease. AIDS takes away millions of lives as there is no specific treatment for cure or vaccine to prevent transmission of HIV. In quest to combat HIV/AIDS, a recent research has revealed breakthrough findings to protect body from infection.
The research team headed by Mojgan Naghavi, at University college, Dublin in Ireland have found that neurons (brain cells) can protect themselves against infections from HIV. A protein molecule named FEZ-1 uniquely made by neurons plays the key role. The protein appears to lock out the HIV virus. They are pining their hope to produce treatments to thwart HIV by using gene therapy or drugs to activate production of FEZ-1 in cells other than neurons, especially the white blood cells most vulnerable to infection by the virus.
Naghavi and her colleagues established the protective effects of FEZ-1 by blocking the gene that makes it in human neurons. This made the neurons vulnerable to infection. Likewise, the team blocked infection that would normally occurs in other types of brain cells, such as microglia, by genetically engineering them to produce FEZ-1. They are now hoping to achieve the same thing in macrophages, a type of white blood cell.
The article is compiled by Md Jakir Hossain, a student of Department of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology at University of Chittagong.
Source: The Daily Star, February 13, 2010