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New Study Reveals Mechanism by Which HIV Virus Destroys Lung Tissue

New Study Reveals Mechanism by Which HIV Virus Destroys Lung Tissue
- In the study, published May 9 in Cell Reports, investigators show how the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, binds to stem cells, called basal cells, which transform into other types of cells that line the airways. This process reprograms the basal cells, causing them to release enzymes, known as proteases, which can destroy lung tissue and poke holes in walls of the air sacs, where oxygen is exchanged. “This research is important because although antiretroviral agents have turned HIV into a chronic, rather than deadly, disease, the viral reservoirs that remain in the lungs and other tissue continue to cause serious side effects,” said senior author Dr. Ronald Crystal, chairman of the Department of Genetic Medicine and the Bruce Webster Professor of Internal Medicine at Weill Cornell Medicine, and a pulmonologist at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center. “Now that we have more information about how the HIV virus might cause emphysema, we can learn more about this potential enzyme target and work towards developing a therapy to prevent this lung damage from happening