HIV and Cancer
HIV is a RNA retrovirus that uses T helper cells to replicate. HIV often manifests into AIDS usually when not treated adequately. HIV targets T helper cells and macrophages. T helper cells and macrophages play key roles in the immune response. The T helper cell coordinates the immune system’s response to infection: it stimulates the production of immune system cells; it stimulates the production of T-cytotoxic cells which ingest and destroy all types of viruses; it stimulates production of B-cells, which produce antibodies; assist with B-cells ingestion and virus elimination.
HIV is a RNA retrovirus that uses T helper cells to replicate. The virus binds to the T-helper cell’s CD4+ protein and gp120 co-receptor located on the surface of the T-cell. After HIV attachment, it enters the cell where it disassembles and hijack’s the cell’s own production machinery to make its ...view middle of the document...
When significant number (percentage) of T helper cells and macrophages succumb to HIV, the body will be unable to fight infections and becomes immunodeficient, thereby developing AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome)
HIV has been associated with three types of cancer: Kaposi’s sarcoma, Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Invasive Cervical Cancer. With Kaposi’s sarcoma, the patient develops cancer cells that line the lymph or blood vessels. These cancer cells cause legions which can possibly not be harmful, however if these legions develop in places such as the lungs, liver or GI tract it can be life threatening. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which includes the lymph nodes and spleen. The lymphoma starts in the B lymphocytes of a person with a weakened immune system and grows from there through the lymph system. Patients who have HIV are more likely to have a human papillomavirus (HPV), which is the disease that can cause genital warts and is the most common cause of cervical cancer. Also, an immune system that has been weakened by HIV could allow a precancerous cervical lesion to develop into invasive cervical cancer faster than it would in women without HIV. In a hypothetical situation though, we can use the HIV model as a cure for cancer. HIV is a virus that attacks a cell by attaching to a specific receptor, entering into the cell, inserting itself into the cell’s genome and turning off the T helper cell gene. If we could figure out exactly how it attaches to the receptor and what it does to insert itself and turn off this gene, we might be able to change the physiology of it in a lab to help cure cancer. We could change the cell to become non-harmful and recognize a receptor that we choose (a cancer cell receptor). Then we can change the HIV cell to recognize and turn off the “growth” gene thereby using HIV to cause the cancer cells to stop growing. With this gene turned off we can give modern medicine a chance to work properly and kill the remaining cancer cells.