Tag Archives: hiv researchers

Prominent HIV researcher Joep Lange was among the victims of flight MH17

foto joep lange_width200px

Joep Lange, a prominent HIV researcher and former president of the International AIDS Society, was one of the victims of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

A professor of medicine and head of the department of global health at the University of Amsterdam, Lange had been involved in HIV treatment and research since 1983, just as the virus was emerging as a global health threat.

He was one of the key researchers behind several pivotal antiretroviral therapy trials, including projects involving the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of the virus, according to the Amsterdam Institute of Global Health and Development.

Lange was on his way to AIDS 2014, a global conference that will take place in Melbourne, Australia from July 20 to 25, at the time of death.

He was traveling with his wife, who has also died in the crash.

“Joep was a visionary amongst HIV researchers,” American HIV researcher Dr. Rick Elion told Vox. “He was acutely aware of the multiple dimensions of HIV spanning science to society and had a heart of gold. This is a huge loss for the field.”

“Joep was absolutely committed to the development of affordable HIV treatments, particularly combination therapies, for use in resource-poor countries,” David Cooper, a friend and fellow researcher told the Australian academic news website The Conversation.

“Another outstanding area of [Lange’s] contribution has been his pioneering role in exploring affordable and simple antiretroviral drug regimens for the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV in resource-poor settings,” Cooper said.

Other researchers and activists have died en route to the AIDS conference, though the death toll has not yet been confirmed.

Australian newspapers are reporting that as many as 108 conference participants may have been on the plane.

The International AIDS Society issued a statement on the losses:

The IAS today expresses its sincere sadness at receiving news that a number of colleagues and friends en route to attend the 20th International AIDS Conference taking place in Melbourne, Australia, were on board the Malaysian Airlines MH17 flight that has crashed over Ukraine earlier today.

At this incredibly sad and sensitive time the IAS stands with our international family and sends condolences to the loved ones of those who have been lost to this tragedy.

We also at LASS, recognise this incredible loss of some some of the worlds finest scientific HIV activists and send our sympathies and heartfelt sorrow to the families of those who died yesterday on flight MH17.

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe by email
Visit Well For Living
for well-being news and info or follow_THEM-a copy

Fighting Fire with Fire.. How HIV is Used to Cure Cancer!

When all conventional forms of treatment were exhausted, Emma Whitehead, 6, was entered into a clinical trial where she was injected with a disabled form of the HIV virus to reprogram her immune system and genetically kill cancer cells.

The result, as seen in the video, exceeded all expectations. Emma is now in remission and her progress is being tracked everyday.

If you never thought you’d see the day when you’d appreciate HIV . . .

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania were looking for a way to stop tumor cell growth, or actively kill the tumor cells. They had several patients (adults with chronic lymphocytic leukenia) and kids with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. These patients had failed all previous standard chemotherapy treatments and would all have probably died in less than a 1 month.

Researchers at Penn had developed a technique to modify the patients’ own T-cells to turn them into what they called “serial killer” cells. These serial killer T-cells could each kill approximately 1000 tumor cells that had the CD-19 antigen on them. This antigen is found on the malignant lymphocytes in these leukemia patients.

To produce the serial killers, researchers needed to modify the patients’ own T-cells by genetically engineering them to produce an antibody-like protein that would sic them on the tumor cells. To do that, the researchers needed to get at the T-cells’ genes. They found that the best way to get this process to work was to use HIV.

The HIV naturally seeks out T-cells and binds to them, then injects its own genetic material, functionally taking over the cell. Forcing it to produce millions of copies of HIV before the cell dies. The researchers modified the HIV so that it could no longer cause the infected cells to produce HIV. But it was programmed to cause them to produce the protein that would make them highly specific serial killers.

The researchers removed T-cells from each patient, cultured them, added the specially programmed HIV. They let the HIV inject and modify the cells, removed them and infused them into the patients. The results? The modified T-cells were very effective. In one case, the modified T-cells destroyed an estimated two POUNDS of tumor.

12 patients who participated in this small trial (10 adults and 2 children). Nine patients responded and all are still alive, some after almost three years. They show no evidence of any remaining leukemic cells and are generally doing well.

The research received additional grant funding and is continuing. The possibility exists that, using modified HIV, other tumor antigens can be successfully targeted and similarly destroyed.

STAY UPDATED
Follow LASS on Twitter
or subscribe via email