12-07-2022  6:44 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4

NORTHWEST NEWS

Merkley Introduces Bill to Ban Private Equity Firms from Predatory Housing Practices

End Hedge Fund Control of American Homes Act seeks to return single-family housing stock to families.

US Judge Gives Initial Victory to Oregon's Tough New Gun Law

A federal judge delivered an initial victory to proponents of a sweeping gun-control measure to take effect this week while giving law enforcement more time to set up a system for permits

Tough Oregon Gun Law Faces Legal Challenge, Could Be Delayed

Midterm voters narrowly passed one of the toughest gun control laws in the nation, but the new permit-to-purchase mandate and ban on high-capacity magazines faces a lawsuit that could put it on ice just days before it's set to take effect.

Portland Approves $27M for New Homeless Camps

Public opposition to the measure and the money that will fund it has been heated, with critics saying it will criminalize homelessness and fail to address its root causes.

NEWS BRIEFS

Volunteers of America Oregon Receives Agility Grant From the National Council on Problem Gambling

The funds will support the development of a Peer Driven Problem Gambling Prevention Campaign targeting high school and college-age...

Commissioner Jayapal Invites Community Members for Coffee

Multnomah County Commissioner will be available for a conversation on priorities and the county's work ...

GFO African-American Special Interest Group Meeting to Feature Southern Claims Commission

The Dec. 17 meeting of the Genealogical Forum of Oregon will feature Shelley Viola Murphy, PhD via ZOOM. Murphy will discuss the...

Charter Commission Concludes Study, Issues Report

The Portland Charter Commission have concluded their two-year term referring nine proposals to the November 2024 election and...

PBS Genealogy Show Seeks Viewers’ Brick Walls

The popular PBS show “Finding Your Roots” is putting out a nationwide casting call for a non-celebrity to be featured on season...

Idaho police seek car seen near site where 4 students killed

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Police are asking for help finding the occupant of a car that was seen near where four University of Idaho students were stabbed to death last month, saying that person could have “critical information" about the case. The Moscow Police Department issued a...

Hawaii remembrance draws handful of Pearl Harbor survivors

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii (AP) — A handful of centenarian survivors of the attack on Pearl Harbor joined about 2,500 members of the public at the scene of the Japanese bombing on Wednesday to commemorate those who perished 81 years ago. The audience sat quietly during a moment of silence...

UNLV hires former Missouri coach Barry Odom to head program

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV hired former Missouri football coach Barry Odom on Tuesday for the same position. He coached the Tigers from 2016-19, going 25-25 with two bowl appearances. Odom was Arkansas' defensive coordinator and associate head coach the past three...

Wake Forest, Missouri meet for first time in Gasparilla Bowl

Wake Forest (7-5, ACC) vs. Missouri (6-6, SEC), Dec. 23, 6:30 p.m. EST LOCATION: Tampa, Florida TOP PLAYERS Wake Forest: QB Sam Hartman ranked second among ACC passers with 3,421 yards and tied for first with 35 touchdowns despite missing a game because of...

OPINION

‘I Unreservedly Apologize’

The Oregonian commissioned a study of its history of racism, and published the report on Oct. 24, 2022. The Skanner is pleased to republish the apology written by the editor, Therese Bottomly. We hope other institutions will follow this example of looking...

City Officials Should Take Listening Lessons

Sisters of the Road share personal reflections of their staff after a town hall meeting at which people with lived experience of homelessness spoke ...

When Student Loan Repayments Resume, Will Problems Return Too?

HBCU borrowers question little loan forgiveness, delays to financial security ...

Tell the Supreme Court: We Still Need Affirmative Action

Opponents of affirmative action have been trying to destroy it for years. And now it looks like they just might get their chance. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Family sues over police killing of Black Michigan motorist

DETROIT (AP) — A white Grand Rapids police officer who shot and killed a Black motorist during a traffic stop last spring had no reason to pull him over, attorneys for the motorist's family said after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit Wednesday. Christopher Schurr, who was fired...

Friction over LGBTQ issues worsens in global Anglican church

Friction has long-simmered within the global Anglican Communion over its 42 provinces’ sharp differences on whether to recognize same-sex marriage and ordain LGBTQ clergy. The divisions widened this year as conservative bishops affirmed their opposition to LGBTQ inclusion and demanded...

Friction over LGBTQ issues worsens in global Anglican church

Friction has been simmering within the global Anglican Communion for many years over its 42 provinces’ sharp differences on whether to recognize same-sex marriage and ordain LGBTQ clergy. This year, the divisions have widened, as conservative bishops – notably from Africa and Asia – affirmed...

ENTERTAINMENT

Will Smith's 'Emancipation' role taught him lesson post-slap

LOS ANGELES (AP) — While filming “Emancipation,” Will Smith routinely drew inspiration from the words “sacred motivation” that were written on the front page of a script. But the Oscar winner heavily leaned on the phrase even more in recent months, as he tried to overcome the backlash to...

Apple Music offers a chance to sing with your favorites

NEW YORK (AP) — Apple Music wants to help you and your friends sing along to your favorite songs with a new feature it's rolling out just as people gather for end-of-year parties. Apple Music Sing gives the user the ability to adjust a song's vocals and an enhanced beat-by-beat...

Sharpton says film debuts at 'critical point' in US politics

NEW YORK (AP) — The Rev. Al Sharpton has been called a lot of names in his public life: a hustler, a racist, an opportunist, a fraud, a rat, a jester. He embraces at least one of the intended insults, a name often hurled by his critics on the right and the left: “Loudmouth.”...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Polygamous 'prophet' leader had child brides, documents say

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — The leader of a small polygamous group on the Arizona-Utah border had taken at least 20...

Emboldened athletes push back on old-school coaching methods

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Some of Geoff Bond’s rowers loved and appreciated his demanding style. They thrived on...

Watchdog finds prison failures before Whitey Bulger killing

WASHINGTON (AP) — The beating death of notorious gangster James “Whitey” Bulger at the hands of fellow...

Italy's La Scala opens season to Ukrainian protests

MILAN (AP) — Italy’s most treasured opera house, Teatro alla Scala, opened its new season Wednesday with the...

Greece slams Turkey's 'repeated threats of war'

ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Greece’s foreign ministry has slammed what it called Turkish threats of war, after the...

Zelenskyy and 'spirit of Ukraine' named Time person of year

LONDON (AP) — Time Magazine on Wednesday named Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy its person of the year,...

Marilynn Marchione AP Medical Writer

Dr. John Zaia

 

In a bold new approach ultimately aimed at trying to cure AIDS, scientists used genetic engineering in six patients to develop blood cells that are resistant to HIV, the virus that causes the disease.

It's far too early to know if this scientific first will prove to be a cure, or even a new treatment. The research was only meant to show that, so far, it seems feasible and safe.

The concept was based on the astonishing case of an AIDS patient who seems to be cured after getting blood cells from a donor with natural immunity to HIV nearly four years ago in Berlin. Researchers are seeking a more practical way to achieve similar immunity using patients' own blood cells.

The results announced Monday at a conference in Boston left experts cautiously excited.

"For the first time, people are beginning to think about a cure" as a real possibility, said Dr. John Zaia, head of the government panel that oversees gene therapy experiments. Even if the new approach doesn't get rid of HIV completely, it may repair patients' immune systems enough that they can control the virus and not need AIDS medicines - "what is called a functional cure," he said.

Carl Dieffenbach, AIDS chief at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, agreed.

"We're hopeful that this is sufficient to give the level of immune reconstitution similar to what was seen with the patient from Germany," he said.

This is the first time researchers have permanently deleted a human gene and infused the altered cells back into patients. Other gene therapy attempts tried to add a gene or muffle the activity of one, and have not worked against HIV.

The virus can damage the immune system for years before people develop symptoms and are said to have AIDS - acquired immune deficiency syndrome. The virus targets special immune system soldiers called T-cells. It usually enters these cells through a protein receptor, or "docking station," called CCR5.

Some people (about 1 percent of whites; fewer of minorities) lack both copies of the CCR5 gene and are naturally resistant to HIV. One such person donated blood stem cells in 2007 to an American man living in Berlin who had leukemia and HIV.

The cell transplant appears to have cured both problems, but finding such donors for everyone with HIV is impossible, and transplants are medically risky.

So scientists wondered: Could a patient's own cells be used to knock out the CCR5 gene and create resistance to HIV?

A California biotechnology company, Sangamo (SANG-uh-moh) BioSciences Inc., makes a treatment that can cut DNA at precise locations and permanently "edit out" a gene.

Dr. Jacob Lalezari, director of Quest Clinical Research of San Francisco, led the first test of this with the company and colleagues at the University of California in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

He warned that it would be "way overstated" to suggest that the results so far are a possible cure.

"It's an overreach of the data. There are a lot of people out there with hopes and dreams around the C-word," so caution is needed.

In the study, six men with HIV had their blood filtered to remove a small percentage of their T-cells. The gene-snipping compound was added in the lab, and about one-fourth of the cells were successfully modified. The cells were mixed with growth factors to make them multiply and then infused back into the patients.

Three men received about 2.5 billion modified cells. Three others received about 5 billion.

Three months later, five men had three times the number of modified cells expected. As much as 6 percent of their total T-cells appear to be the new type - resistant to HIV, Lalezari said.

The sixth man also had modified cells, but fewer than expected. In all six patients, the anti-HIV cells were thriving nearly a year after infusion, even in tissues that can hide HIV when it can't be detected in blood.

"The cells are engrafting - they're staying in the bloodstream, they're expanding over time," said Lalezari, who has no personal financial ties to Sangamo, the study's sponsor.

The only side effect was two days of flulike symptoms. It will take longer to determine safety, but several AIDS experts said they were encouraged so far.

"It is a huge step" and a first for the field of genetics, said John Rossi, a researcher at City of Hope in Duarte, Calif., where he and Zaia plan another study to test Sangamo's approach. "The idea is if you take away cells the virus can infect, you can cure the disease."

On Wednesday, Dr. Carl June, a gene therapy expert at the University of Pennsylvania, will report partial results from a second, federally funded study of 10 people testing Sangamo's product. He treated his first patient with it in July 2009.

Many questions remain:

- People born without the CCR5 gene are generally healthy, but will deleting it have unforeseen consequences?

- Will HIV find another way into cells? Certain types of the virus can use a second protein receptor, though this is less common and usually when AIDS is advanced. Sangamo is testing a similar approach aimed at that protein, too.

- How long will the modified cells last? Will more be needed every few years?

- Could doctors just infuse Sangamo's product rather than removing cells and modifying them in the lab?

- What might this cost?

Sangamo spokeswoman Liz Wolffe said it's too early in testing to guess, but it would be "a premier-priced" therapy - in the neighborhood of Dendreon Corp.'s new prostate cancer immune therapy, Provenge - $93,000.

Yet AIDS drugs can cost $25,000 a year, so this could still be cost-effective, especially if it's a cure.

Jay Johnson, 50, who works for Action AIDS, an advocacy and service organization in Philadelphia, had the treatment there in September.

"My results are excellent," he said. "The overall goal is to not have to take medication, and then hopefully lead maybe to a cure."

Matt Sharp, 54, of suburban San Francisco, also had the treatment in September.

"I would trade anything to not have to take a handful of medications every day for the rest of my life and suffer all the consequences and side effects," he said.

"I may not live long enough to see the cure, but I always hoped for a chance."

Photo Gallery

Photos and slide shows of local events