Portland researchers make breakthrough in fight against AIDS

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by Abbey Gibb, KGW Staff

KREM.com

Posted on September 12, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Updated Thursday, Sep 12 at 2:42 PM

Researchers at OHSU have made a breakthrough that offers new hope in the fight against AIDS.

Dr. Louis Picker discovered a virus called CMV that can increase the immune system just enough to stop the growth of HIV.  It then continues on to kill every HIV cell in the body.

Dr. Picker then tested that theory in monkeys.  He vaccinated them with a CMV serum, then infected them with SIV - the primate version of HIV.

For the first time ever recorded, the immune system in half the monkeys tested was able to completely kill the SIV virus

"With HIV, the immune system never wins," Dr. Picker told Newschannel 8. "So we've gone from never winning to 50 percent winning."

Human trials are up next. Dr. Picker estimates that is about two years away.

For the nearly 5,000 HIV positive Oregonians, this is a big step in the right direction.

"I think it’s great. I think the more tools we have in our arsenal the better and I think this incredible," said BJ Cavnor, who's been living with HIV for 23 years.  "But frankly, it’s just too soon to tell.  It's an important step but it's just a step."

 

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