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Study debunks valproic acid as HIV cure

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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Feb-20-07 04:27 PM
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Study debunks valproic acid as HIV cure
published Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A group of Johns Hopkins researchers has found that a drug that might offer a key to eliminating HIV from the body permanently in fact does no such thing, and it's back to the drawing board for an HIV cure in a pill.

Valproic acid is an anti-epilepsy drug that was recently found to also act against an enzyme that keeps HIV in a dormant mode inside cells. Essentially, it removes proteins called histones that act like knots in the string of the cell's DNA -- they stop the DNA from dividing. Take away the histones, and you get an active cells churning out HIV.

Why would you want to do this? Well, the theory was that the reason we can't get rid of HIV from the body right now is because a small amount of it stays locked up in the genes of dormant immune cells.

These get activated so rarely -- normally only in response to infections -- that the body keeps a permanent "reservoir" of HIV, deep inside the gene code of the immune system where conventional HIV drugs can't get to it.

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