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Jewish University Looks to Cure HIV

New York's Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University makes breakthrough in radioactive therapy

By: Zak Edwards
Published: December 5th, 2013 in Health » World
Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University

Researchers from New York’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University have just presented a paper that looks at a possible avenue in curing the HIV virus, reports Medical News Today.

Scientists presented their findings at the 99th Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting of the Radiological Society of North America in Chicago, IL, which may hold the cure for one of today’s scariest diseases.

The HIV virus, which can lead to AIDS, affects an estimated 9 million people worldwide. Most treatments focus on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), a drug cocktail that “keeps the virus from multiplying by killing the virus in the bloodstream.” The treatment, while effective, is not a cure because HAART cannot “completely eliminate the HIV-infected cells in which the virus can replicate,” YU’s College of Medicine said in a press release Tuesday.

But this latest paper suggests that radioactivity may be able to eliminate the virus entirely. The procedure, called ‘radioimmunotherapy’ (RIT), uses antibodies charged with radioactive isotopes to target cells and is already widely used to treat cancer. Study leader Ekaterina Dadachova stated that "to combat HIV, we need a method that will completely eliminate all HIV-infected cells without damaging non-infected cells," and this procedure may allow doctors to target cells without harming healthy cells.

One of the challenges with HAART is the side effect of mental impairment due to an inability to traverse the blood/brain barrier. With RIT, however, Dr. Dadachova thinks that “radioimmunotherapy could kill HIV-infected cells both in blood samples that received antiretroviral treatment and within the central nervous system, demonstrating RIT offers real potential for being developed into an HIV cure."

As with all stories like this, it is important to remember that this research is years from being proven effective in humans and possibly decades from being available in any capacity.
Related articles: HIV, Yeshiva, Yeshiva University, Israel News, Health News, AIDS, Radioactive Therapy, Albert Einstein College
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