Why in the hell did George W. Bush dislike stem-cell research again?
It turns out that there's almost nothing these little babies can't do, and this week UCLA came up with a humdinger of a headline when it announced that stem cells it developed have been proven to seek and destroy HIV. Really.
Sort of like heat-seeking missiles:
The study, published this week in the journal PLoS Pathogens, says that HIV in "humanized" mice was attacked and destroyed by stem cells specifically designed to do so. However:
UCLA researchers say the stem cells would have be designed for nearly each individual in order to be effective. They ...
... placed the engineered stem cells into human thymus tissue that had been implanted in mice, allowing them to study the reaction in a living organism.
The engineered stem cells developed into a large population of mature, multi-functional HIV-specific CD8 cells that could specifically target cells containing HIV proteins. The researchers also discovered that HIV-specific T cell receptors [the killer stem cells] have to be matched to an individual in much the same way an organ is matched to a transplant patient.
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Lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen of the UCLA AIDS Institute:
We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body.
Woo-hoo! The end is near. We can feel it.