STAGED INVASION: Understanding the role of coreceptors CCR5 and CXCR4 provides a clearer picture of AIDS disease progression, says NIAID's Edward Berger.

TAKING AIM: Chemokine receptors provided a fixed target for therapy, while the mutating HIV virus is a moving target, remarks NCI's Stephen J. O'Brien.
Increased knowledge about the doorways HIV uses to enter cells has opened up new avenues of inquiry for AIDS researchers. Over the past several years, scientists have discovered several chemokine receptors (the chemical entrances HIV needs to invade a cell). They have also identified proteins, called ligands, that latch onto these entrances and found genetic mutations that create immunity.

This flurry of findings about the way HIV infiltrates cells has prompted researchers to look for therapies that stem the spread of the virus to healthy cells. Approaches include developing small molecules that would attach to these chemokine receptors, thus blocking infection; vaccinating with ligands...

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