Researchers find clues to a functional HIV cure

Updated:1 month, 2 weeks ago IST

New Delhi, Feb 09 (ANI): A new study now has identified a measurable indicator that could prove instrumental in the fight against HIV. George Mason University's Yuntao Wu focused on Cofilin, a key protein that regulates cells to mobilise and fight against infection. In an HIV-infected patient, cofilin dysfunction is a key factor in helper T cell defects, according to the research recently published in the journal Science Advances. Helper T cells augment the body's immune response by recognising the presence of a foreign antigen and then helping the immune system mount a response. Wu and his team found that patients with HIV have "significantly lower" levels of cofilin phosphorylation--which provides a control of cofilin's activity with the addition of a phosphate--than healthy patients. Cofilin is a key protein that helps cells generates the driving force for migration. Proper cofilin phosphorylation is needed for cells to move in and out of tissues. Their findings suggest that a lasting immune control to HIV isn't likely to come from antiretroviral therapy alone because it is not sufficient to repair the cofilin damage caused by HIV and to restore normal T cell migration in and out of tissues. However, the researchers found that by stimulating the T cells with additional therapeutics, such as the a4ß7 integrin antibody, they could modulate the levels of cofilin activity needed to restore T cell mobility. The remedy has shown lasting effects in immune control of simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV), the simian form of the AIDS virus, in a monkey trial, but it has not showed the same results in HIV-infected human patients.

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