Curing AIDS with Opposite Approaches
02/07/2009, 12:17 am
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,

natural-healer_tdr-1Two new announcements on potential cures in the fight against AIDS this week caught my eye, because of the concrete example they provide between “mainstream” western medicine and more holistic approaches.

First up is a report on a man in Nigeria who claims he can “cure AIDS” using a traditional healing method that involves herbs, tree bark and assorted medicinal plants. The man, Baba Chukuri, is well known in his small community as a healer of many illnesses, including scientifically untreatable ones like AIDS. Chukuri claims he uses recipes passed down by his grandfather, and that his popularity among Nigerians is testament to the effectiveness of his natural approach.

Unfortunately, because Nigeria has the second highest number of AIDS cases in the world, and “bogus” healers are all-too-often caught taking advantage of the ill and impoverished. But there may be some legitimacy to Chukuri, and Nigeria’s Institute for Pharmaceutical Research and Development (NIPRD) are testing his claims, to see if any of the medicinal plants he uses can be applied in orthodox medicine.

sangamoThe next report comes from a California-based biotech company, who announced last week that they plan to start human trials of a drug to cure HIV/AIDS by targeting human DNA. Sangamo Biosciences will recruit 12 people living with advanced stages of HIV for the trial of their drug, SB-728-T. The drug disrupts a gene on the surface of the immune cells to which HIV attaches. The hope is that the immune cells will become resistant to HIV, thus making the entire immune system resistant as well.

This trial is just Phase I in what will likely be a long series of tests, but, if effective, it offers a new approach to treating diseases like cancer, by fortifying immune cells to resist their spread.

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