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AIDS may one day be harnessed to cure diseases like cancer, say researchers

A CNRS team of scientists said that they have been able to select a mutant protein in the HIV virus and then add it, along with a cancer drug to tumor cells.

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Scientists say that the AIDS virus may one day be used in the fight against cancer. (Wikimedia/Wikimedia commons)

AIDS may one day be used to help cure cancer and other diseases say French researchers in a new paper.

A CNRS team of scientists said that they have been able to select a mutant protein in the HIV virus and then add it, along with a cancer drug to tumor cells.

According to Science Daily, adding the mutant protein improves treatment with the cancer drug 1/300 the normal dosage levels.

The finding was made with the knowledge that the HIV virus, which causes AIDS, multiplies using human cells by putting its own genetic material into the host cells' genome.

The virus has been so difficult to treat because it constantly mutates and multiplies.

Yet, for that reason, researchers believe they can rechannel the virus for therepeutic uses.

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"Through HIV multiplication, [we] selected a "library" of nearly 80 mutant proteins and tested them on tumor cells in the presence of an anticancer drug. The results have enabled us identify a dCK variant that is more effective than the wild-type (non-mutated) protein, inducing the death of tumor cells in culture," said the researchers in a statement, reported Counsel and Heal.

"The possibility of reducing the doses of anticancer drugs would palliate the problems posed by their components' toxicity, reduce their side-effects and, most importantly, improve their effectiveness."

Complicated terminology aside, adding the fast-moving HIV cells helps to outcompete and finally eliminate cancer cells - then the problem likely is getting rid of the HIV.

The study was published in the journal PLoS Genetics.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/health/120828/aids-may-one-day-be-harnessed-cure-diseases-cancer-say-researchers