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AIDS Virus Can Hide In Bone Marrow 118

suraj.sun writes "The virus that causes AIDS can hide in the bone marrow, avoiding drugs and later awakening to cause illness, according to new research that could point the way toward better treatments for the disease. Dr. Kathleen Collins of the University of Michigan and her colleagues report in this week's edition of the journal Nature Medicine that the HIV virus can infect long-lived bone marrow cells that eventually convert into blood cells. 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, said. In recent years, drugs have reduced AIDS deaths sharply, but patients need to keep taking the medicines for life or the infection comes back, Dr. Collins said."
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AIDS Virus Can Hide In Bone Marrow

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  • by interkin3tic ( 1469267 ) on Monday March 08, 2010 @09:09PM (#31408538)

    HIV is a retrovirus. It literally becomes a part of your DNA. The only way to truly cure HIV is to remove the HIV DNA from your genome, good luck with that.

    Sarcasm isn't warranted. Remember that each cell carries -it's own copy- of the genome. HIV does not infect every cell in your body. Kill off the infected cells and you've gotten rid of all the HIV DNA. Kill off the mature immune system cells and you'll still have this reservoir of stem cells which apperantly produce more virus. Kill off the fraction of bone marrow cells (ideally without killing the patient) and you'll have gotten rid of the HIV DNA.

    Your brain cells, for example, don't appear to be infected and their copies of the genome will not have any HIV DNA in them. So it's not nearly as impossible as you've suggested.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 08, 2010 @11:36PM (#31409602)

    How about blocking the trigger that causes the virus to reactivate? (Provided we can figure it out)

  • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Tuesday March 09, 2010 @02:03AM (#31410410) Journal

    AIDS has been redefined. The definition now requires the presence of HIV.

    IMHO, that's cheating. It's "winning" the argument by changing the definition.

    There are plenty of ways that one can aquire an immunodeficiency syndrome. They were all AIDS until some wiseass redefined AIDS to exclude everything except the most common situation.

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