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Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Literary Review of Gene Editing, Cytotherapy, and Medical Marijuana as Therapies for HIV

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Paula Moreno

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Faculty Advisor: Dr. H. Ashour

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Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects almost 37 million people world-wide; there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. This paper will begin by explaining viruses/retroviruses and HIV infection/progression at the molecular, cellular, and organismal level. Common drug therapy will be mentioned, followed by in-depth discussions on the processes of three different therapies that combat HIV-1 at either the molecular, cellular, or organismal level. Once the virus has been integrated in the genome, antiretroviral therapies (ART) begin. At the molecular level, gene silencing has the power to essentially “shut down” or “cut out” genes from the integrated proviral genome that therefore stop its reproduction and transmission to other cells. The machinery discussed will include but not be limited to CRISPR-CAS9, and short interfering RNA (siRNA). At the cellular level, cytotherapy is designed to transplant cells for replacement of damaged tissue and/or cells. The mechanisms for this will include stem cells, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Symptoms of HIV at the organismal level are immense. Medical marijuana has recently been approved in 33 states for HIV/AIDS. Medical marijuanna has positive effects on those who suffer with anxiety, chronic pain, rapid weight loss, and lack of appetite. This paper will include not only a literary review analysis on the matter, but also an interview with someone HIV+ who uses medical marijuana as a therapy. This paper will also include an outlook on the most promising therapies, HIV preventative medicine, as well as any disadvantages/challenges of the ones discussed.

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus: A Literary Review of Gene Editing, Cytotherapy, and Medical Marijuana as Therapies for HIV

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) affects almost 37 million people world-wide; there is currently no cure for HIV or AIDS. This paper will begin by explaining viruses/retroviruses and HIV infection/progression at the molecular, cellular, and organismal level. Common drug therapy will be mentioned, followed by in-depth discussions on the processes of three different therapies that combat HIV-1 at either the molecular, cellular, or organismal level. Once the virus has been integrated in the genome, antiretroviral therapies (ART) begin. At the molecular level, gene silencing has the power to essentially “shut down” or “cut out” genes from the integrated proviral genome that therefore stop its reproduction and transmission to other cells. The machinery discussed will include but not be limited to CRISPR-CAS9, and short interfering RNA (siRNA). At the cellular level, cytotherapy is designed to transplant cells for replacement of damaged tissue and/or cells. The mechanisms for this will include stem cells, human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Symptoms of HIV at the organismal level are immense. Medical marijuana has recently been approved in 33 states for HIV/AIDS. Medical marijuanna has positive effects on those who suffer with anxiety, chronic pain, rapid weight loss, and lack of appetite. This paper will include not only a literary review analysis on the matter, but also an interview with someone HIV+ who uses medical marijuana as a therapy. This paper will also include an outlook on the most promising therapies, HIV preventative medicine, as well as any disadvantages/challenges of the ones discussed.

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