Research shows HIV virus may hide in bone marrow

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

HIV virus (falsely colored in green)

Recent research published in Nature Medicine two days ago shows the HIV virus may be found within the bone marrow of those affected. Kathleen Collins, the co-author of the study and professor at the University of Michigan, states the purpose of the study is to achieve "a better understanding of how HIV hides in the body."

Recently, new antiretroviral drugs have helped slow the progression of the HIV virus as long as the patient uses these drugs for their whole life. This shows the treatment is effective, however some portion of the virus remains within the human body.

The researchers found the virus can hide in certain bone marrow cells. Collins stated that one cannot kill the bone marrows cells because this would have a lethal effect on humans, however she said "maybe we could find ways of targeting only the latently infected bone marrow cells." Collins believes that in the future this new discovery may help scientists to kill off the HIV virus, or perhaps remove the necessity of using antiretrovirals for a lifetime.