A study co-authored by Stephen Miller, the Judy Gugenheim Research Professor of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, has shown promise in the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis, effectively masking the myelin membrane that protects nerve cells in the brain from being destroyed by the human body’s own immune system, without involving the entire immune system.
Could this discovery be used in the treatment of other Auto-Immune Inflammatory Diseases like Diabetes and Asthma.
HIV is not classified as an autoimmune inflammatory disease, because it doesn’t allow for the body’s own immune system to attack healthy cells, which is a biomarker for autoimmune diseases. AIDS on the other hand is an autoimmune inflammatory designated disease because by the time HIV turns to AIDS, the immune system of the patient is severely damaged.
HIV progresses in stages to the point that it becomes AIDS. If left untreated, HIV becomes AIDS in more than 50% of patients. If you think you may have HIV, or have had unprotected or risky sex recently, get tested. The life you save may be your own.
So when HIV becomes AIDS, your immune system becomes your own worst enemy. With your immunities down, you can easily catch numerous diseases and viruses that may kill you. When the body detects a potential threat to itself, the immune system creates 2 types of white blood cells to kill the offending antigen, t-cells and b-cells. The t-cells notice the antigen, and call out the b-cells, which then create massive amounts of antibodies to fight the antigen.
AIDS disrupts this process by directly infecting the helper T-cells. Your initial immune response does get rid of a great deal of HIV, but some of it manages to survive and infect these important cells. Once the infected helper T-cells are activated, they work to create new viruses instead of doing the job they are supposed to do in your immune system. In addition, many helper T-cells are destroyed in the HIV replication process.
So let us take a look at how the recent Multiple Sclerosis discovery might help fix this problem, and how the nanoparticles can aid this process.
In the Northwestern University study published in the November 18th 2012 journal Nature Biotechnology, the body ‘s immune system see’s the myelin sheaths as an antigen, and attacks them, and when the sheaths are destroyed, the nerves cannot communicate any longer, and the muscles cannot function properly.
So this new treatment uses the nanoparticles to effectively mask the myelin sheaths covering the nerve endings in the brain and elsewhere and the immune system is fooled into thinking the masked cells are not an antigen, and this relaxes the immune system, and prevents further destruction of the myelin sheaths.
This specific type of treatment is far more cost effective than previous white blood cell treatments, because nanoparticles are readily available, and are inexpensive to manufacture. White blood cell therapy on the other hand, is costly and very time consuming, and works on the complete immune system, whereas the nanoparticle therapy only works where it is targeted. Good stuff.
Can this discovery be modified to protect the small amount of t-cells in an AIDS patient that become infected by whatever disease or virus they were fighting initially, thus keeping those t-cells from re-infecting the patient all over again.
This would be a major advance in HIV/AIDS treatment, and would save countless lives.
In recent months, numerous Scientific advances in Medical treatment of major diseases have been announced. The Kyoto Stem Cell discoveries and recent individualized DNA strand repair for cancer patients are just two.
The 21st Century is looking like the Medical age of man, and let us all hope so.
Article by Jim Donahue.
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