HIV virus can cure rare genetic disease?
HIV virus is known as a dangerous virus that causes AIDS and can be deadly. But Italian scientists found the usefulness of this virus. Scientists found HIV virus able to cure two rare genetic diseases suffered by children.
Gene therapy using HIV virus is known to be effective in three children with metachromatic leukodystrophy and three children with Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. After treatment for three years, the children were successfully recovered and is currently in good condition.
Causes of the two diseases are genetic defects as a result of a lack of protein and essential nutrients in infancy. Metachromatic disease attacks the nervous system. Babies look healthy at birth, but when growing up children lose the ability to think and lose physical abilities.
While the Wiskott-Aldrich disease attacks the immune system and makes children more susceptible to infection, cancer, and autoimmune diseases. This disease also attacks the platelets so that the child easily bleed.
“The results were obtained from six patients was quite good. Therapy is not only safe, but also effective and can change the clinical records of some of these rare diseases,” said lead researcher Luigi Naldini of the San Raffaele Telethon Institute for Gene Therapy (TIGET), as reported by U.S. News (11/07).
In the new therapy, the researchers used stem cells obtained from bone marrow of patients. However, researchers need a virus that can spread these agents to cells. To that end, researchers used the HIV virus. Once injected into the body, it managed to restore missing protein in the patient’s organs.