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Cancer drugs may be effective in HIV therapy

Category: HIV

Individuals who have received a positive HIV test may have a new hope for coping with the disease. Researchers from the University of Minnesota Academic Health Center found that two drugs that are currently approved by the FDA may help fight the infection.

The two drugs - decitabine and gemcitabine - are currently used in pre-cancer and cancer treatments. However, researchers found that when they were combined they were able to eliminate HIV infections in mouse test subjects.

Researchers said that these particular findings are so important because they are the first to show that an HIV infection can be eliminated without causing toxic side effects.

The report shows that the drugs cause the virus to mutate out of control until it destroys itself, turning its greatest strength into a weakness that doctors may be able to exploit.

"HIV's ability to mutate makes it difficult to target and treat," said Louis Mansky, who led the study. "We wanted to take advantage of this behavior by stimulating HIV's mutation rate, essentially using the virus as a weapon against itself."

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