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Medicine

AIDS Vaccine Breakthrough 417

Posted by samzenpus
from the one-step-closer dept.
Doc Ruby writes "Scientists at Johns Hopkins University in MD, USA announced they've disrupted the means by which HIV stops the immune system from attacking it. From the article: 'Scientists say they have found a way to disarm the AIDS virus in research that could lead to a vaccine. Researchers have discovered that if they eliminate a cholesterol membrane surrounding the virus, HIV cannot disrupt communication among disease-fighting cells and the immune system returns to normal. [...] "By stealing cholesterol from the envelope of the virus, we can neutralize the subversion," said Graham. "We've broken the code; we can shut down the type of interference that HIV is having on the immune system."'"
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AIDS Vaccine Breakthrough

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  • by RenHoek (101570) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @09:32AM (#37507514) Homepage

    With the recent deluge of articles on curing aids, cancer and even the common cold, is the future finally here? Are we going Deus Ex in a few years now?

    • We can only hope, but I want the chin augment that Jensen has.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I have a terrible feeling that in the future we'll be seeing cyborg homeopaths and astrologers traveling in flying cars with little fish decals proudly displayed on the back.
      • by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday September 25, 2011 @02:41PM (#37509162) Journal

        Not funny, Insightful. We could have Star Trek-level technology and we'd still suffer with the awful legacy of man's basest instincts and the old cognitive bugs from our days stalking prey and eluding predators in the jungle.

        If an AIDS vaccine were available on the market tomorrow, the right-wingers would want to stop it from being distributed, worried that it will cause autism or take the danger out of sexual promiscuity (see: HPV vaccine). Scientologists would worry that it will bring volcano spirits back into your soul or something. The alternative medicine crowd would say it's useless and a Big Pharma scam.

    • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @09:55AM (#37507624) Homepage

      I am not sure about the recent part, there have always been miracle cancer cures just around the corner for as long as I have been old enough to read the news.
      This is promising, but wake me up when they actually cure/prevent the disease in a person with this.

      And what does curing diseases have to do with cyborg augmentations?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by MBGMorden (803437)

        This is promising, but wake me up when they actually cure/prevent the disease in a person with this.

        My thoughts exactly. I don't demean their research, but realistically I'm not that interested in a play-by-play for the development. I'll consider all this a breakthrough when I can go down to Walgreens and get an AIDS vaccine.

      • Because when we are done curing disease, the next step is augmentations :)

      • by DJRumpy (1345787) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @11:57AM (#37508320)

        This goes beyond simple theories and pipe dreams. This was actively performed in a lab and the process is well documented. This actually pokes holes in the cholesterol membrane using a chemical called beta-cyclodextrin. This chemical binds to this special type of cholesterol around an HIV cell, which had two desired effects. It prevented the HIV virus from hyper-activating PDC's (the mechanism which damages the immune response itself), and it seems it also damaged it's ability to replicate. The chemical actually leaves the membrane riddled with holes due to this binding process.

        This is very promising in that the function they are disrupting is at the very root of what makes HIV effective in avoiding the immune system. Once this happens, the immune system is able to respond to the virus much like it would any other typical pathogen.

        The one thing that wasn't made clear was what the impact will be to those who are already infected. It sounds as if this could potentially be useful to existing infections as well but I haven't seen any statements to that effect as of yet.

        • I agree, and to me anyways it sounds even more like a potential cure then a preventative measure.
          But I have heard of lots of miracle drugs going to even human trials, drugs that show huge success in labs (it does not mean that it will actually turn out to have significant real world effect).

      • by pclminion (145572)

        And what does curing diseases have to do with cyborg augmentations?

        No disease to take you out early --> slow physical degradation of body components ("wearing out") --> miserable quality of life --> desire to replace worn body parts with artificial ones

    • Actually HIV may really be on its way out ..modern treatments are to the point where you can live a normal healthy life and die of something else. Well as long as you maintain your health insurance anyway.

      HIV will probably be cured over the next decade .. it will not be a single breakthrough though it will be gradual so it won't seem like you woke up one day and HIV is cured .. it'll be like 15 to 20 years from now while sitting on your couch you'll suddenly wonder "whatever happened to that disease everyon

    • The article hints at a way to attack the virus in the lab. There is absolutely no attempt yet to do the same in a human body. Can it be done safely? While the article says the cholestrerol membrane is not the same as the one that occurs in things related to coronary disease, is it maybe in use somewhere else? Wouldn't be much point in an AIDS vacine that causes you to fall apart in a puddle.

      But the cure for AIDS has been here for a long time. How many people do you know with AIDS? I am not just making anoth

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by durrr (1316311)
        The cure for AIDS, which stands for Aquired ImmunoDeficiency Syndrome(meaning, that you have it when you have AQUIRED a immunological deficiency in case the name didn't hind at that for you) Is retroviral drugs.

        In case you have problem with neuances i'll spell it out for you. A HIV infection if left untreated will result in AIDS, at which point you're pretty much toast. A HIV infection on its own does not however qualify as AIDS with modern retroviral treatment(or the intial stage without treatment) will
        • ow if you excuse me I'll have to crash the moon into earth before I have to repeat this rant any more times.

          maybe if you crashed the moon into earth, all those stupid earthlings would stop crashing their rockets between the moons, and the epidemic might stop...

      • by XavierGr (1641057)

        AIDS was this terrible nightmare from a by gone era when some people who made a lot of noise in the media had unprotected sex with everyone else in the group.

        AIDS is still a nightmare in third word countries. Don't dismiss it just because symptoms in the developed world are relatively scarce.

      • by vadim_t (324782) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:56AM (#37507974) Homepage

        Problem is there is this nasty thing called "religion" whose adherents keep on insisting that condoms are somehow wrong, and that sex is for procreation only.

        A big part of the problem is all those religious jerks that are coming to those third world countries to insist on that. Fortunately they're not getting all that much traction in civilized places, but in third world countries it's devastating.

        Add to that ridiculous notions held by people in some of those countries, like that sex with a virgin will cure you, and you have one horrible mess as a result.

        Kicking out all those missionaries and bringing in some proper education would do wonders.

        • by Baloroth (2370816)

          No, the religion isn't the problem. The problem is people only listening to part of what the religious people are saying. Most (all?) of the religions that forbid condoms also preach sex for procreative purposes in marriage only. If you have sex with one person (and only one person), and they do the same for their entire life, it's nigh on impossible to get an STD. In fact, I'm pretty sure the safety margin is far, far higher than that with condoms. From wikipedia [wikipedia.org], the risk reduction from using a condom is

          • by vadim_t (324782)

            No, the religion isn't the problem. The problem is people only listening to part of what the religious people are saying. Most (all?) of the religions that forbid condoms also preach sex for procreative purposes in marriage only.

            Yes it is. Problem with that, people have been demonstrated not to care that much about the "sex for procreative purposes in marriage only" part. However, the condoms part seems to work a lot better.

            Why is that? Probably because controlling behavior, especially what people do in pri

          • The problem is that the missionaries are letting perfect be the enemy of good. Their perfect plan for the elimination of STDs, when executed imperfectly, leads to a horrific spread of STDs (since they don't recommend condoms, so every slip-up has a great chance of spreading STDs and causing unwanted pregnancies). A scientist's less ambitious, imperfect plan for the reduction of STD spreading, when executed imperfectly, will still cut down on the spread of STDs (since people might "forget" to use a condom, b

      • The cure is latex, it works, it has been tried and tested.

        You know that. I know that. But try telling that to all the zillion word users out there...

      • The cure is latex, it works, it has been tried and tested. Not science, or as you put it, the futures fault you refuse to take your medicine.

        ...

        Odd stuff, just because we got cure for food poisoning doesn't mean people started eating rotten food on purpose.

        If rotten food tasted a whole helluvalot better than safe food, they would.

      • by janimal (172428)

        Odd that it takes a death threat to get people to use condoms? Condoms take the animal unbridled instinct feeling out of sex, which makes it less fun. The fun in sex is to a large extent due to the fact that it's on kernel code level. The moment you have to escape from kernel code into userland, you lose the feeling of... lack of control :) The point of fornication (which sex with a condom definitely attempts to be) is the pleasure you get out of letting your most basic programming take over. Pulling out a

    • by ultranova (717540)

      With the recent deluge of articles on curing aids, cancer and even the common cold, is the future finally here?

      No. We still need an aneutronic microfusion generator, human-level AI, and antigravity.

      Of these the solution to our current energy crisis is the big one. AI is evolving constantly, and antigravity isn't really necessary if you simply have enough energy, but energy nothing is possible.

      Oh, and we also need to stop our slide to plutocracy, unless of course we want one of the more dystopic futures.

  • Scientists say

    traditional indication of hype

    could lead

    Oh its just hype after all.

    Oh well... I'd like a /. story about how its real easy to have a working nuclear fusion reactor. All you need is to build a reactor, and then turn it on. No big deal, everyone be happy now.

    This is not a story about vaccine trials, just a "wouldn't it be great if ..."

    • This is not a story about vaccine trials, just a "wouldn't it be great if ..."

      The title is a bit misleading, but the content isn't. Knowing how to disarm the virus is a significant development. It's certainly not the same thing as a cure, but it is more than hype.

    • I also wonder, how they retain cholesterol at normal body cells that need it to their normal function.

  • the cure for AIDS, coming at you faster than the speed of light!

  • Wooo! (Score:2, Funny)

    by mustPushCart (1871520)

    I'm off to the whorehouses!

  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:03AM (#37507668)
    Abstinence. Don't be tempted by sex unless you are 100% absolutely sure. I would suggest waiting until marriage.
    • by Haedrian (1676506) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:09AM (#37507704)

      Laugh all you like, but if people actually took that advice a few years ago we wouldn't have AIDS anymore.

      That and "Don't share needles".

      • What about those folks that can't get married?
        • by hedwards (940851)

          Those folks typically die before they reach adulthood. If you can get yourself laid, then you can get yourself married. It's not like it's that hard to find somebody that is as desperate as the person who hypothetically isn't ever going to marry because they can't.

          The only major exception I can think of is where the law prohibits marriage and those folks usually end up partnering up for life without the documents.

          • by tverbeek (457094)

            The only major exception I can think of is where the law prohibits marriage and those folks usually end up partnering up for life without the documents.

            Not necessarily. Whether this is a good thing or a bad thing is a matter of opinion, but a marriage contract does have an effect on the likelihood of a couple staying together.

            • but a marriage contract does have an effect on the likelihood of a couple staying together.

              Not necessarily. Kids do. And unfortunately, those who are not allowed to marry can't have their own kids, and aren't allowed to adopt kids.

        • by bryanp (160522)

          What about those folks that can't get married?

          In this context it doesn't matter. If you are in a faithful monogamous relationship then you're okay. If you aren't then the problem (and solution) is the same no matter your gender, orientation or marital status.

        • by artor3 (1344997)

          Marriage isn't a magical barrier. It's the monogamy that comes along with marriage that protects you. A married man who visits the red light district every weekend is probably gonna catch something nasty. A gay man who can't marry, but only has sex with a few partners before settling down with one is likely going to be safe.

      • by tverbeek (457094) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:45AM (#37507886) Homepage

        Aye, and if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon.

        The problem with this advice – and pretty much every other "just say no" solution to a social or medical problem – is that it ignores human nature... and the empirically documented fact that it simply doesn't work. Some people inevitably will have unprotected sex, will share needles, and will do everything else that they're told not to do. A "solution" that ignores this fact is one that is not 100% effective.

        • by ari_j (90255)

          The solution is 100% effective for those who utilize it. Your rationale applies equally to a vaccine: It is less than 100% effective for the people who do not receive it. I would certainly question which empirical documentation you can point to that shows that abstinence from both unprotected sex and shared needles "simply doesn't work" in this context.

          In short, you should have stopped with the point that the abstinence argument ignores human nature. But then again, if it were human nature to abstain fro

          • What if a woman gets raped by a man carrying HIV? What if you get in contact with an HIV-infected needle by accident?

      • Best advice that seems to work in Africa is similar, ABC. Abstinence Before marriage, Condom if you can't resist. Drastically reduced new cases of AIDS in the countries that used it.
      • by pclminion (145572)

        Laugh all you like, but if people actually took that advice a few years ago we wouldn't have AIDS anymore.

        We'd also have a lot of rather awkward wedding nights. "Does it go here?" "Is it supposed to leak like that? Are you broken?" "I'm not sure, but I think that might be the wrong spot to put that." "Well that didn't seem to go on very long now did it?"

      • by IICV (652597) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @01:20PM (#37508756)

        Tell that to Isaac Asimov [wikipedia.org], who died due to AIDS caused by a blood transfusion.

      • by Nyder (754090) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @04:17PM (#37509600) Journal

        Laugh all you like, but if people actually took that advice a few years ago we wouldn't have AIDS anymore.

        That and "Don't share needles".

        Spoken like a person who lives in a glass bubble.

        We are sexual people. We don't just "turn sex off", that is not how we work.

        Instead of teaching Abstinence, we should of been teaching about proper sex health, birth control, and protection, instead of just "hoping" people will not have sex. Because people do NOT stop having sex, no matter how much you ask them not to. Can you grasp that simple concept? The religious freaks haven't.

        As for sharing needles, you once again, don't know shit.

        Why did people share needles? Because they were so fucking hard to get. Until the last 10 or so years where they have had "Needle Exchanges" and pharmacies adopting of letting anyone buy needles, it was very hard and expensive to get clean works. And when your a junkie, your money goes to your dope, not to making sure you have clean works.

        Our policies help made these problems, not the people who were stuck because of the policies.

        That fact that you are currently 4 Insightful only shows how stupid most people are about these matters. It's easy to blame others, but the blame lies with all of us for not taking care of the less fortunate in our community, not at them because they have problems that we prefer to ignore.

    • by Yosho (135835)

      Why do you think marriage would protect you from getting AIDS? Or are you implying that people with AIDS shouldn't be allowed to marry?

      • by kenj0418 (230916)

        Why do you think marriage would protect you from getting AIDS?

        Because abstinence is always effective.

      • Why do you think marriage would protect you from getting AIDS?

        Because he doesn't believe in adultery, divorce or premarital sex.

    • by Sasayaki (1096761) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:26AM (#37507788)

      Abstinence is the worst of all the safe-sex choices.

      The best way to describe it is, "It is 100% effective, when used correctly. When not used correctly it is 0% effective, and among females and males between 14-25 it has a very high failure rate."

      How many non-Slashdot users do you know that are 25 years old and never had sex?

      • Moreover, if you need to fiddle around too much, the rod may have become limp again before you've got it on, spoling all the fun...
      • by khallow (566160)

        How many non-Slashdot users do you know that are 25 years old and never had sex?

        Well, there you go. It won't work, if you don't properly implement it.

    • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:26AM (#37507790)
      This only works if:
      1. You can actually stick to it, including those hormone-addled teenage years.
      2. Your spouse (spouses, if you divorce and remarry) managed it as well.
      3. You manage to avoid other means of infection. Rape, accidential exposure to blood.

      It's also rather untidy, having to alter your life in order to avoid disease. Much tidier to simply remove the disease through science.
      • The notion is similar to what Lord Monckton proposed, which was rounding up all the HIV+ people and putting them in internment camps. Which would work, except be (1) morally repungent [means never justifies the ends because the means is never 100% effective] and (2) assumes you'd actually be able to find 100% of HIV positive people.

        • I don't like that bit about the means justifying the end. Sometimes it does. A famous example would be Typhoid Mary. Even after she was found to be a asymptomatic carrier, she reacted with complete denial - continuing to work as a cook, leaving a trail of death in her wake, yet never accepting that she was the cause. After all attempts to convince her of the danger she posed failed, forced quarantine was just the only option left - if she had been allowed to keep her freedom, she would have without doubt ha
          • by Raenex (947668)

            Quarentine wouldn't have worked on HIV anyway. The disease was first identified in the US, but had it's origin in Africa. By the time it was identified, it was already too late to contain.

            Don't be so sure. Cuba implemented rigorous testing and quarantine early on quite successfully. They have since abandoned it and rates are on the rise.

    • I am surprised this is modded funny, it is ridiculous actually.
      Condoms are only like 97% effective, so while they reduce the chance you are still even likely to get a disease if you constantly have sex with a carrier.
      It is up to the individual but unless you have quite a lot of evidence that someone is not a infected with a disease when you have sex with them even if you use a condom you are taking a chance.

    • by kheldan (1460303)
      Marriage is an outdated notion driven by that system of control known as "religion". If you need some document and a ceremony in front of all your friends (read as: witnesses) in order to make a long-term committment to your significant other, then I pity you. Otherwise the only legitimate (pun intended) reason for "marriage" was becaue of any offspring resulting from the union, but that too is now an obsolete notion as there are other legal mechanisms available to recognize them as your heirs.
  • We won't see or hear about these breakthroughs again because there won't be any "profitable" method of distribution.
  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@NosPam.telebody.com> on Sunday September 25, 2011 @10:21AM (#37507758) Homepage Journal

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_HIV/AIDS_adult_prevalence_rate [wikipedia.org]

    Can't understand how anybody can post snarky troll crap at all.
    Did you know there are over 30 million people with HIV and 1 million are in the U.S., and it's apparently accelerating maybe?

    These researchers probably deserve the nobel and the medal of honor. Here's hoping that something amazing comes out of this.

    Of course the tangent everyone will want to know about is this cholesterol film around the virus they are disrupting.. and a naive question about whether there is something simple that can be done to reduce this cholesterol and weaken the virus' immune disruption activity, before waiting years for the real thing.

  • I thought this was going to be another one of those "wow we have a cure for HIV but xyz" type of articles, but there is so much more to it than that.

    The coolest part about this breakthrough is that it was directly generated by people playing the game "fold it". The game (which I've played in the past) involves turning various little nobules on molecules in order to try to match them up to certain shapes. It's fun and mindless, I had *no idea* that the results were actually being used by scientists working o

    • by EPAstor (933084) on Sunday September 25, 2011 @12:01PM (#37508342)
      Wrong breakthrough, I'm sorry to say. That one was an analysis of a protein that all retroviruses (including HIV) have - this one is an actual (albeit in vitro) treatment method. This paper is in a completely different direction, and arguably one step further along its path... and no, FoldIt was not involved in this particular breakthrough. Both are cool, but not the same work.

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