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article imageScientists discover cancer drug could lead to cure for AIDS

By Katerina Nikolas     Jul 26, 2012 in Health
A team of scientists is hopeful that the first steps towards a cure for AIDS has been uncovered, after finding a drug used to treat cancer can flush out dormant HIV cells.
David Margolis MD, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is the co-author of a study published in the journal Nature, which has identified the usage of a cancer drug that can flush out dormant HIV cells. Naharnet reported Margolis announced "It is the beginning of work toward a cure for AIDS," as he spoke at the International Aids Conference in Washington.
The scientific study found the chemotherapy drug vorinostat, which is used to treat lymphoma, can rouse the dormant HIV virus and eliminate it. Until now the dormant virus can turn into an infection that attacks the immune system.
Margolis explained "After a single dose of the drug, at least for a moment in time, (vorinostat) is flushing the virus out of hiding." He added "This is proof of the concept, of the idea that the virus can be specifically targeted in a patient by a drug, and essentially opens up the way for this class of drugs to be studied for use in this way."
According to Discover Magazine "If all the hidden viruses could be activated, it should be possible to completely drain the reservoir" and then use drugs to stop fresh viruses infecting healthy cells. The study indicates the research could lead to a safer version of the toxic cancer drug being developed to mimic its effects.
Naharnet reported HIV researcher Steven Deeks said the research provided "the first evidence that ... a cure might one day be feasible".
More about cure for AIDS, David Margolis, HIV genome, vorinostat, International AIDS conference
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