could junk dna battle hiv?

How cool is this? Maybe we have the necessary means to fight HIV/AIDS within ourselves. It’s actually very encouraging to me and it reaffirms how much potential the human body has within.

About 95% of the human genome has once been designated as “junk” DNA. While much of this sequence may be an evolutionary artifact that serves no present-day purpose, some junk DNA may function in ways that are not currently understood. The conservation of some junk DNA over many millions of years of evolution may imply an essential function that has been “turned off.” Now scientists say there’s a junk gene that fights HIV. And they’ve discovered how to turn it back on.

What these scientists have done could give us the first bulletproof HIV vaccine. They have re-awakened the human genome’s latent potential to make us all into HIV-resistant creatures, and hey’ve published their ground-breaking research in PLoS Biology.

via Darwin’s Radio: Prehistoric Gene Reawakens to Battle HIV.

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man supposedly cured of leukemia by stem cell transplant

artsurgerygiWell this IS something! I really hope (as I always do) that this could lead to a permanent cure of HIV and Leukemia. The only additional thing I would wish for is that the big drug companies see none of the profit from this breakthrough. I’m convinced there exists a non money making cure to AIDS. But I suppose that it would be wide knowledge by now.

“The patient is fine,” said Dr. Gero Hutter of Charite Universitatsmedizin Berlin in Germany. “Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication.”

The case was first reported in November, and the new report is the first official publication of the case in a medical journal. Hutter and a team of medical professionals performed the stem cell transplant on the patient, an American living in Germany, to treat the man’s leukemia, not the HIV itself.

However, the team deliberately chose a compatible donor who has a naturally occurring gene mutation that confers resistance to HIV. The mutation cripples a receptor known as CCR5, which is normally found on the surface of T cells, the type of immune system cells attacked by HIV.

via Man appears free of HIV after stem cell transplant –

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joe derisi: hunting the next killer virus

This video was too amazing not to share.

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Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects, Can Help Reverse Brain Damage

This is an excellent advancement in repairing brain damage caused by strokes, etc. While there is a small downside that injected stem cells could get stuck in tissue, the discovery far outweighs that small stumbling block. Also I assume that the people against stem cell research don’t so much like this either.

“If you use neural stem cells,” says Yanai, “they are your little doctors. They’re looking for the defect, they’re diagnosing it, and they’re differentiating into what’s needed to repair the defect. They are doing my job, in a way.”

via Technology Review: Stem Cells Undo Birth Defects.

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Protein’s essential role in repairing damaged cells revealed

University of Michigan researchers have discovered that a key protein in cells plays a critical role in not one, but two processes affecting the development of cancer.

“Most proteins involved in responding to DNA damage that can cause cancer either help detect the damage and warn the rest of the cell, or help repair the damage,” says David O. Ferguson, M.D., Ph.D., the study’s lead author. Ferguson is an assistant professor of pathology at the U-M Medical School and a member of U-M’s Comprehensive Cancer Center.

via Protein’s essential role in repairing damaged cells revealed.

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Scientists Find Prostate Cancer Gene

This is great news for all us guys. There is now a test to identify whether or not we’re likely to get prostate cancer. This way we can at least be more conscious of testing for it during our physicals. This is the type of thing I imagine my friend Nick discovering and working on.

Prostate cancer gene detected –

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