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  • What do you do when you have a headache?

  • You swallow an aspirin.

  • But for this pill to get to your head, where the pain is,

  • it goes through your stomach, intestines and various other organs first.

  • Swallowing pills is the most effective and painless way of delivering

  • any medication in the body.

  • The downside, though, is that swallowing any medication leads to its dilution.

  • And this is a big problem, particularly in HIV patients.

  • When they take their anti-HIV drugs,

  • these drugs are good for lowering the virus in the blood,

  • and increasing the CD4 cell counts.

  • But they are also notorious for their adverse side effects,

  • but mostly bad, because they get diluted by the time they get to the blood,

  • and worse, by the time they get to the sites

  • where it matters most: within the HIV viral reservoirs.

  • These areas in the body -- such as the lymph nodes,

  • the nervous system, as well as the lungs --

  • where the virus is sleeping,

  • and will not readily get delivered in the blood

  • of patients that are under consistent anti-HIV drugs therapy.

  • However, upon discontinuation of therapy,

  • the virus can awake and infect new cells in the blood.

  • Now, all this is a big problem in treating HIV with the current drug treatment,

  • which is a life-long treatment that must be swallowed by patients.

  • One day, I sat and thought,

  • "Can we deliver anti-HIV directly within its reservoir sites,

  • without the risk of drug dilution?"

  • As a laser scientist, the answer was just before my eyes:

  • Lasers, of course.

  • If they can be used for dentistry,

  • for diabetic wound-healing and surgery,

  • they can be used for anything imaginable,

  • including transporting drugs into cells.

  • As a matter of fact, we are currently using laser pulses

  • to poke or drill extremely tiny holes,

  • which open and close almost immediately in HIV-infected cells,

  • in order to deliver drugs within them.

  • "How is that possible?" you may ask.

  • Well, we shine a very powerful but super-tiny laser beam

  • onto the membrane of HIV-infected cells

  • while these cells are immersed in liquid containing the drug.

  • The laser pierces the cell, while the cell swallows the drug

  • in a matter of microseconds.

  • Before you even know it,

  • the induced hole becomes immediately repaired.

  • Now, we are currently testing this technology in test tubes

  • or in Petri dishes,

  • but the goal is to get this technology in the human body,

  • apply it in the human body.

  • "How is that possible?" you may ask.

  • Well, the answer is: through a three-headed device.

  • Using the first head, which is our laser,

  • we will make an incision in the site of infection.

  • Using the second head, which is a camera,

  • we meander to the site of infection.

  • Finally, using a third head, which is a drug-spreading sprinkler,

  • we deliver the drugs directly at the site of infection,

  • while the laser is again used to poke those cells open.

  • Well, this might not seem like much right now.

  • But one day, if successful, this technology can lead

  • to complete eradication of HIV in the body.

  • Yes. A cure for HIV.

  • This is every HIV researcher's dream --

  • in our case, a cure lead by lasers.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

What do you do when you have a headache?

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B1 TED hiv laser drug infection cure

【TED】Could We Cure HIV with Lasers? | Patience Mthunzi | TED Talks

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    Max Lin posted on 2015/11/23
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