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Calif. Doctor Develops HIV Smart Bomb

Calif. Doctor Develops HIV Smart Bomb


Animal trials are proving successful for a new HIV treatment that attaches itself to the disease like a magnet and then stops it from spreading.

John Rossi, chair of molecular and cellular biology at the City of Hope hospital in Duarte, Calif., is the lead author on the study of the new therapy, which utilized mice. Rossi describes the treatment as a smart bomb" against HIV.

"This particular approach is pretty different than almost everything else out there recently," Rossi told the Pasadena Star-News. Previously, Rossi developed a molecular sequence (called an aptamer) that targeted and stopped the genes that HIV uses to replicate‹this new development utilizes a more efficient aptamer.

"We found that this aptamer not only binds to (the cell) and blocks it but also if the cell is infected... the aptamer will recognize that and get dragged into the cell. We found we could use this to deliver a second therapeutic molecule."

The study is seen as especially affirming because it was conducted with humanized mice‹mice with engineered human immune systems.

"We give them a single injection once a week for several weeks and found out it completely knocks out the virus," Rossi said. "There was no detectable virus during injection, and it doesn't come back to its normal level after."

More studies are ongoing with mice, as well as with cells purged from humans.

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