Sometimes the best way to catch a mouse is the natural way -- with a cat.
Using that philosophy, it seems, USC chemical engineering Professor Pin Wang might have just hit one out of the park. The university announced today that he "created a virus that hunts down HIV-infected cells."
You read that right. A living thing that preys on another living thing (but one we don't care for). Of course, it's a little more complicated than that:
Wang's "lentiviral vector" virus doesn't actually eat or destroy HIV-infected cells, but it does mark them for the kill, accomplished by drugs that can then better target them for destruction.
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As is, HIV drugs can destroy healthy cells too. USC:
The process is analogous to the military practice of "buddy lasing" - that is, having a soldier on the ground illuminate a target with a laser to guide a precision bombing strike from an aircraft.
In the lab, Wang's virus has been known to destroy 35 percent of HIV-infected cells. Not a cure yet, but not bad at all.