Human Exceptionalism

Adult Stem Cells Show Vaccine Like Promise in AIDS Fight

Here’s some good adult stem cell news, that has been–as usual–underplayed in the media.  Blood stem cells can be engineered to target the HIV virus. From the story:

Their study, published Monday in the-peer reviewed online journal PLoS ONE, provides proof-of-principle — meaning a demonstration of feasibility — that human stem cells can be engineered into the equivalent of a genetic vaccine, according to a UCLA statement. “We have demonstrated in this proof-of-principle study that this type of approach can be used to engineer the human immune system, particularly the T- cell response, to specifically target HIV-infected cells,” said lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute. “These studies lay the foundation for further therapeutic development that involves restoring damaged or defective immune responses toward a variety of viruses that cause chronic disease, or even different types of tumors.”Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and colleagues say they have shown that human blood stem cells can be engineered into cells that can target and kill HIV-infected cells, which potentially could be used against other chronic viral diseases.

As usual in cases like this, remember this is early research with much left to be done.

I also found it interesting that this research was partially funded by the CIRM, which is desperate to show real benefit for all the money it has borrowed, which it can’t from ESCR or  human cloning research.  It’s fun when reality bites.


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