R&D leading to an AIDS Gene Therapy
human immunodeficiency virus was discovered more than 25 years ago
and since then a cure for AIDS has eluded researchers. A viable
vaccine that can prevent the spread of that disease has also eluded
medical science despite huge amounts of research funding and work.
The insidious nature of the HIV virus causes the problem. The virus
destroys functions of the immune system that have evolved to protect
the body from viral pathogens. The immune system is so weakened that
viral antigens in vaccines don't evoke a strong enough immune
response to stop the virus particles from infecting lymphocytes.
Dozens of vaccines have been tried and none work.
therapies have also been tested- most of them in animals and a few in
humans. They can stop up to 99% of the viral load but they cannot
cure AIDS or prevent it. The curent gene therapies dont prevent
transmission of the virus either. Gene therapies are not vaccines-
they are therapies based on the use of vectors that carry DNA into a
person's cells and that cause the DNA to be incorporated into the
genetic machinery in the nucleus of lymphocytes to transform them.
The DNA endows them with extra genes that kill the HIV virus or that
prevent the infection of lymphocytes and other immune system cells by
blocking their entry via the CCR5 receptors. CCR5
the chemokine receptor which HIV uses as a coreceptor to gain entry
into lymphocytes and macrophages.
of those genetic therapies has resulted in a cure of the disease.
Vulvox is working on a new kind of genetic therapy that has the
potential of curing
AIDS. We do not claim to have a cure now, but we have reason to think
that our new type of genetic therapy will be able to cure that
disease instead of keeping the patients dependent on a number of
protease inhibitors and AZT that causes lots of side effects. Vulvox
is seeking joint research and development partnerships and both
public and private funding to test our theories and to perfect our
genetic therapy in animals and humans.