After years of researching the function of classical immune cell receptors, Dr. Candace Pert, along with her partner, Dr. Michael Ruff, have developed the first of a new class of treatments for HIV/AIDS, the viral entry inhibitor Peptide T. Peptide T effectively blocks the virus from binding to the receptor on the white blood cell, leaving the virus with no means to reproduce and sustain itself in a host. At a scientific conference being held March 25-30 in British Columbia, Canada, Pert will report on her breakthrough research in developing a successful vaccine against HIV-1, which has eluded scientists for years. At the conference, titled “HIV Vaccines: From Basic Research to Clinical Trials,” Pert will expound on her research on broadly-reactive, neutralizing antibodies that can act against all strains of the ever-mutating AIDS virus. The research will be presented in the Keystone Symposia Global Health Series, which is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The antibodies produced in her research have been called the “holy grail” of AIDS vaccine research. Twenty years of research led to the discovery that a short peptide, only eight amino acids long, proved to be a part of the virus that binds to receptors on cells, thus allowing the AIDS virus to enter and infect. Pert and Ruff are reporting that they have not only neutralized the viruses in their own lab, but that their rabbit antibodies yielded similar results in tests by the National Institutes of Health. Pert explained, “The AIDS researchers have not appreciated that a short, simple peptide could be the Achilles heel of the virus. Essentially all current vaccine candidates being tested consist of the entire viral envelope, 100 times larger and vastly more complex.” Remarkably, the Pert/Ruff peptide immunogen produces the highly sought, broadly reactive, neutralizing antibodies as shown in simple test tube experiments. In contrast to her own research, many large clinical trials have used immunogens that have not passed this hurdle. Eradicating HIV/AIDS from the planet is one that many have long thought unthinkable. Breaking from traditional protocols, Pert has been steadfast in proving the effectiveness of her approach, thus spawning a new scientific paradigm. Pert indicated that she was looking forward to additional small animal studies, in collaboration with the NIH, as a prelude to human testing. The city of Palmdale, long steeped in aerospace science, was selected as the site for the health science announcements because the 2007 Antelope Valley Women’s Conference will honor Candace Pert in May for her pioneering work to produce a working HIV/AIDS vaccine. Pert, an internationally recognized pharmacologist, has published more than 250 scientific articles on peptides and their receptors and the role of these neuropeptides in the immune system. A major contributor to the emergent field of psychoneuroimmunology, Pert is also an author, having written “Molecules of Emotion: The Scientific Basis Behind Mind-Body Medicine” and most recently, “Everything You Need to Know to Feel Go(o)d.” Pert is also the founder and current scientific director of RAPID Pharmaceuticals and The Institute for New Medicine. For more information on Candace Pert, go to www.candacepert.comhttp://www.candacepert.com/ and www.tinm.orghttp://www.tinm.org/ For more information on the Antelope Valley Women’s Conference 2007, go to www.avwomensconference.comhttp://www.avwomensconference.com/. The Antelope Valley Women’s Conference is being sponsored by Time Warner Cable; Antelope Valley Fairgrounds; Chapman Communications; dsh Solutions; Gordon Elder, CFP; City of Palmdale; Lancaster Community Hospital; Sanitation Districts of L.A.County and Sunset Marketing and Design. To post your own stories and photos, log on to valleynews.com.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!