Stop AIDS? Gene therapies target ‘almost impossible to cure’ HIV

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Experts say gene therapy could finally be used to treat HIV and AIDS – after a decade of trying to replicate the transplant that cured a patient in Germany.

‘Gene therapy techniques have advanced greatly,’ said Dr Otto Yang of the UCLA AIDS Institute, one place working on this. ‘A lot of people are thinking it’s the right time to go back.’

[R]esearchers at Temple University developed a gene editing method that detects HIV DNA in people’s T cell genome, the DNA set of a type of white blood cells. Once the DNA is edited out, the loose ends of the genome that were once attached to the HIV infection are reunited by the cell’s own DNA repair system. Not only is the cell HIV-free, but it’s also protected from a new infection.

Dr John Zaia at City of Hope, a research center in Duarte, California, is … using blood stem cells — parent cells that produce many others.

Once a stem cell is altered the benefit should multiply and last longer, Zaia said.

University of Pennsylvania scientists are trying a two-part approach: besides knocking out the gene for the HIV entryway, they’re adding a gene to help T cells recognize and kill HIV.

This second part is called CAR-T therapy, a treatment approved last year for treating cancer.

Read full, original post:
 Could gene editing fight the AIDS crisis? Scientists poised to re-try the risky procedure 10 years after it cured the Berlin Patient but had disastrous results in every other trial

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