Wednesday, 30 April 2008

ITK Blocker a Cure For AIDS?

Well no actually, but it is a catchy title.

According to the BBC, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (A pdf can be found here) reported that it has been found that blocking the ITK protein causes a decrease in HIV replication. Here is a better page from MedPage Today.

In really simple terms what they have found is that blocking ITK can slow down the progression of the virus in quite a few ways:

  1. Impedes infection
  2. Slows down replication

Clearly it doesn't stop HIV from being transmitted but it sure screws things up for the virus.

If you want a Numb3rs-type analogy I would say think of your own but make sure that it has zombies in it.

Apparently the effect that it has on us is just a slowed immune response, but we are not completely harmless.

But it does show a change in the way we are thinking of combating HIV. Instead of trying to kill the virus itself, which mutates quickly and is slowly becoming immune to the drugs, we are looking for ways to make our own bodies a rather hard place for it to survive. Such a drug that could block ITK production in T cells would mean that instead of developing drugs to combat viral infections we develop drugs that make it harder for viruses to infect you in the first place.

Think of the benefits, although we do need more testing to see how adverse the side effects could be.

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