Epigenetics Medicine

Can epigenetics be used to thwart viruses?

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From Shawna Williams at the Scientist:

There’s potentially more than one way to deal with stuborn viruses like HSV using epigenetic drugs. While no epigenetics-based antivirals are yet on the market, clinical trials are underway to test the use of chromatin-opening cancer drugs in combination with conventional antiretroviral therapies for HIV, and researchers such as Kristie and Bloom are working to better understand how viruses take advantage of hosts’ epigenomes—and how they might be stopped.

The potential for manipulating the latent virus to flush it out of hiding makes epigenetic drugs an appealing strategy for researchers looking for a functional cure for HIV, says virologist Melanie Ott of the Gladstone Institutes. Current antiretroviral therapies effectively control the infection, but if patients go off the drugs, the vast majority will experience a resurgence of infection due to reservoirs of latent virus in the body. More.

An epigenome in tablet form? Had to happen.

See also: Epigenetics may explain how Darwin’s finches respond to environment

and

Epigenetic change: Lamarck, wake up, you’re wanted in the conference room!

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