"Scientists say they have solved a crucial puzzle about the AIDS virus after 20 years of research and that their findings could lead to better treatments for HIV. British and U.S. researchers said they had grown a crystal that enabled them to see the structure of an enzyme called integrase, which is found in retroviruses like HIV and is a target for some of the newest HIV medicines. "Despite initially painstakingly slow progress and very many failed attempts, we did not give up and our effort was finally rewarded," said Peter Cherepanov of Imperial College London, who conducted the research with scientists from Harvard University. The Imperial and Harvard scientists said that having the integrase structure means researchers can begin fully to understand how integrase inhibitor drugs work, how they might be improved, and how to stop HIV developing resistance to them."
Keith's note: The next time someone asks you what the value of growing large, perfect protein crystals is in biomedical research (such as those grown on the ISS) refer them to this discovery. In this instance, these crystals were grown on Earth, not in space. But I wonder if a zero G-grown crystal would have accelerated their research? Perhaps if NASA dropped (eliminated) the cost, others could utilize this facility more readily?