HIV usually does not infect cancer cells, but the scientists introduced VPR in the cells to see the effect
Preliminary results in the lab show promise in fighting tumors including the type associated with colon and cervical cancer, according to University of Rochester research. The results are published in Monday’s Obstetrics and Gynecology, a national medical journal.
“This is a basic science type of advance where you begin to understand a process,” said one researcher, Vincente Planelles, told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle.
University of Rochester researchers caution that human tests are years away.
The gene VPR is one of nine genes in HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. In a person with HIV, VPR kills immune cells, leaving the person open to the potentially fatal infections of AIDS.
HIV usually does not infect cancer cells, but the scientists introduced VPR in the cells to see the effect.
The research was funded by the National Institutes of Health. The university is seeking more money to study how VPR kills cancer cells. The long-term goal is to develop a cancer drug that mimics VPR rather than inject cancer patients with the gene itself, Planelles said.
But even if the VPR gene were used, there would be no danger of the patient contracting HIV from it, he said.
Some cancer cells will not die when confronted with traditional chemotherapy, https://magnitude-opanma7.blogspot.com but VPR orders those cells to die, said Dr. Joseph Rosenblatt, chief of medical oncology at the Cancer Center.
If scientists can figure out how VPR does that, better treatments might be developed for both cancer and AIDS, he said. In AIDS, scientists would like to stop VPR from killing cells; in cancer, cell death is the goal.