Scientists Create Stem Cells Immune to HIV

Scientists have engineered HIV-immune stem cells that can carry T cells to different organs in the body, laying the groundwork for one day eliminating the virus from infected patients. 

What's the Latest Development?

By engineering stem cells to be immune to HIV, scientists at UCLA have developed a method for targeting and suppressing cells in the body that contain HIV proteins. The researchers took "the 'killer' T cells that help fight infection from an HIV-infected individual and identified the molecule known as the T cell receptor, which guides the T cell in recognizing and killing HIV-infected cells." After injecting these modified stem cells into a human thalamus tissue that had been implanted in mice, they watched the number of T cells increase and the number of HIV-infected cells decrease. 

What's the Big Idea?

The results of the study indicate that T cells, once they are couched in modified stem cells, are capable of migrating across organs to help eradicate HIV from different parts of the body. "We believe that this is the first step in developing a more aggressive approach in correcting the defects in the human T cell responses that allow HIV to persist in infected people," said lead investigator Scott Kitchen, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at UCLA. The research may lay the groundwork for entirely eradicating the virus from the body. 

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Develop mindfulness to boost your creative intelligence

Sharon Salzberg, world-renowned mindfulness leader, teaches meditation at Big Think Edge.

Image: Big Think
Big Think Edge
  • Try meditation for the first time with this guided lesson or, if you already practice, enjoy being guided by a world-renowned meditation expert.
  • Sharon Salzberg teaches mindfulness meditation for Big Think Edge.
  • Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
Keep reading Show less

Google Maps apologizes for going rogue in Japan

The navigation tool has placed a school in the sea, among other things.

Strange Maps
  • Google has apologized for the sudden instability of its maps in Japan.
  • Errors may stem from Google's long-time map data provider Zenrin – or from the cancellation of its contract.
  • Speculation on the latter option caused Zenrin shares to drop 16% last Friday.
Keep reading Show less

MIT study: 24-hour fasting regenerates stem cells, doubles metabolism

This gives credence to the 5-2 diet, which has recently gained in popularity thanks to a large celebrity following.

Pexels, user @Deena

Chances are you're probably thinking about food right now in some capacity. Maybe it's close to dinner and you're wondering what you are going to eat. Maybe you had a really good lunch and are fondly reminiscing about your BLT, or whatnot. Or maybe, just maybe, you're thinking about not eating food for a while. 

Keep reading Show less

A new theory explains Jupiter’s perplexing origin

A new computer model solves a pair of Jovian riddles.

(NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)
Surprising Science
  • Astronomers have wondered how a gas giant like Jupiter could sit in the middle of our solar system's planets.
  • Also unexplained has been the pair of asteroid clusters in front of and behind Jupiter in its orbit.
  • Putting the two questions together revealed the answer to both.
Keep reading Show less