Stemming the Tide of HIV

I’m becoming rather attached to these 6pm news-style pun titles.

I don’t want to bore you with details I clearly understand very well and much better than you do, but here is the abstract of this research article. These clever folk at UCLA have done-it-in-mice (which is a verb in my mind) of engineering stem cells into T-cells that target and destroy HIV-infected cells.

There is a desperate need for effective therapies to fight chronic viral infections. The immune response is normally fastidious at controlling the majority of viral infections and a therapeutic strategy aimed at reestablishing immune control represents a potentially powerful approach towards treating persistent viral infections. We examined the potential of genetically programming human hematopoietic stem cells to generate mature CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes that express a molecularly cloned, “transgenic” human anti-HIV T cell receptor (TCR). Anti-HIV TCR transduction of human hematopoietic stem cells directed the maturation of a large population of polyfunctional, HIV-specific CD8+ cells capable of recognizing and killing viral antigen-presenting cells. Thus, through this proof-of-concept we propose that genetic engineering of human hematopoietic stem cells will allow the tailoring of effector T cell responses to fight HIV infection or other diseases that are characterized by the loss of immune control.

Blah blah blah. Is it a cure for HIV? My expert opinion is: maybe! Lucky the Foofighters ditched their support for bizarre HIV-AIDS-link-denying organisation Alive & Well. Could have been embarrassing.

Everybody’s Got AIDS

Interestingly, AIDS is also Aids in the Oxford Dictionary. No, that’s not interesting. That’s boring. And frustrating.

Anyway, gangsta geneticists from the South Sweden Massif are a step closer to a vaccine for HIV. How’d they do it? Oh, just took a gene from the HIV virus and transferred it into a bacterium, which then passed it on to a MOTHERFUCKING PLANT, which started producing the BITCHIN’ HIV-IDENTIFYING PROTEIN, and which they then FED TO GODDAM MICE and the mice started PRODUCING ANTIBODIES, HOMES.

In other news, studies have shown that making science stories a little more gangsta increases their palatability.

Back to the original news, the plan is to feed the world the HIV vaccine in fucking carrots. Holy shit. Life is cool.

I wonder how much those carrots will cost.