SAN DIEGO, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Aethlon Medical, Inc. (OTCBB:AEMD), the pioneer in developing therapeutic filtration devices to address infectious disease and cancer, announced today that researchers have discovered that the Aethlon Hemopurifier® is able to capture particles known as Nef protein exosomes, which contribute to the progression of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). The Aethlon Hemopurifier® is a first-in-class therapeutic device that selectively targets the clearance of viruses, immunosuppressive proteins, and disease enhancing exosomes from the entire circulatory system.
Nef or "Negative Factor" protein is a highly abundant HIV accessory protein that plays an essential role in AIDS progression, yet has eluded HIV drug discovery efforts. Nef protein is secreted from infected cells in small membrane-bound packages called "exosomes." These exosomes fuse with non-infected cells and cause a variety of effects, including programmed cell death of CD4+ immune cells, the hallmark of AIDS. The Hemopurifier® provides a strategy to address Nef exosomes, which are present in the blood of HIV infected individuals. In an ex vivo validation study conducted by researchers at Morehouse School of Medicine, a small-scale Hemopurifier® reduced the presence of Nef exosomes in cell-culture fluids by greater than 85% in less than 24 hours. The outcome represents the first demonstration that a medical device can selectively target Nef exosomes.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that many viruses, including HIV, exploit the mechanisms of exosome production for their secretion and pathogenesis," stated Michael Powell, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Director of Proteomics, Microbiology, Biochemistry, and Immunology at Morehouse School of Medicine. "Therefore, therapies that target circulating exosomes hold great promise to advance antiviral strategies."
In addition to Nef exosomes, the Hemopurifier® is the subject of multi-cancer studies against tumor-secreted exosomes that facilitate the ability of cancerous tumors to evade the immune response. Tumor-secreted exosomes are also implicated in the survival, growth, and metastasis of cancer. Additionally, the Hemopurifier® is being evaluated in human studies as an adjunct therapy to improve outcomes of HCV patients receiving interferon therapy.