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Oct 23, 2007

Scientists Link Gene Mutations to Rate of Progression to AIDS

  • Genetic factors significantly contribute to the pace of HIV/AIDS progression, according to researchers from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

    Researchers examined genetic information from more than 3,500 HIV-1 infected and uninfected individuals. They found that individuals who had specific combinations of two genes—CCR5, which helps facilitate HIV entry into the cell, and CCL3L1, an immune response gene—were much more likely to have reduced immune responses and a greater decline in CD4 T cells.

    The investigators discovered that in HIV-infected subjects, viral load contributed 9% to the variability in rate of progression to AIDS; variations in CCR5 and CCL3L1 combined accounted for 6% variability in AIDS progression rates.

    The research appears in Nature Immunology.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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