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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

Do Cats With FIV Foretell HIV’s Future?

March 13, 2013

Tags: FIV, HIV, AIDS, cats, SIV

Romeo is our third FIV-positive cat.
Since my January 24 blog “My Cat Has AIDS," about my two feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)-positive cats, we’ve acquired a third, the handsome Romeo. He, too, came to us from Orange Street Cats, on Valentine’s Day.

Romeo was found in an inner city park where people who can barely afford to feed their families nevertheless care for the burgeoning population of stray cats. “His origins are unknown, but I’d been feeding him along with other backyard cats where I live, a short distance from the vet,” said Ethel, the kind woman who saved him. “When Romeo injured his front leg, I trapped him and took him to the vet. The leg wasn't broken, but they determined he is FIV positive, with no symptoms, so I couldn't keep him,” because she already had an adult, indoor cat. (more…)

My Cat Has AIDS (Part 1)

January 26, 2013

Tags: FIV, HIV, AIDS

Artie, our second FIV+ cat. (Credit: Dr. Wendy Josephs)
Juice was an impulse buy.

It was early July 2003, and we were headed to the mall for a gift for Carly, about to turn 15. We parked near a bus equipped as an animal shelter.

Inside, kitten-filled cages lined the walls, except for one, which had a large, orange and white cat stuffed into it. Carly made a beeline for him and the attendant hoisted him out and handed him over. I reminded Carly that we already had 5 felines, but we knew he’d be left behind as the kittens were adopted. (more…)

The Irony of HIV Gene Therapy

May 5, 2012

Tags: HIV, gene therapy, Ricki Lewis, Don Kohn, Jim Wilson, The Forever Fix:Gene Therapy and the Boy Who Saved It, T cell, virus, gp 120, anti-retroviral, gene transfer

HIV on a human lymphocyte.
Buried somewhere beneath the long-awaited announcement of the birth of Jessica Simpson’s baby on May 2 was encouraging news about HIV infection: gene therapy appears to be safe.

Anti-retroviral drugs (ARTs) have been remarkably successful, but they require daily doses and have adverse effects. Gene transfer is an alternative approach that gives selected cells the genes to manufacture proteins necessary to counter a particular disease. Gene transfer (which technically becomes gene therapy once it works) to treat an enzyme deficiency, for example, provides genetic instructions for the missing enzyme. To treat an infection or cancer, gene therapy bolsters immune system cells.
(more…)

instruction
Project to engage students in helping families with rare genetic diseases
Book Club Reader's Guide
Many challenging questions to stimulate thought and discussion.
Instructor's Guide
38 discussion questions to get students thinking and talking about gene therapy, including the science, ethical issues, and the drug approval process.
Narrative science
The Forever Fix is the uplifting true story of 8-year-old Corey Haas, who was cured of hereditary blindness just 4 days after gene therapy.
College Textbooks
A spectacularly-illustrated, clearly written human anatomy and physiology textbook, used in pre-health profession programs throughout the U.S.
A highly engaging, clearly written, beautifully illustrated introduction to the science of human genetics for the non-scientist. Now in its 10th edition.
Nonfiction
An ideal starting point for anyone who wants to know more about genes, DNA, genomes, and the genetic ties that bind us all.

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