CRISPR used to cure HIV in mice. Will it lead to new treatments for humans?

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Image: Thinkstock

Researchers say they have removed HIV from the DNA of mice, an achievement the scientists say could be an early step toward an elusive cure for humans.

The breakthrough, detailed [July 2] in a study credited to more than 30 scientists from Temple University and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, was made possible by an antiviral drug in combination with the tool called CRISPR that can edit genes. The researchers eliminated HIV in nine of 23 mice that were modified so their immune systems better mimicked those of humans.

Clinical trials for the gene-editing component of the cure could start as early as next year if the Food and Drug Administration approves them, said Kamel Khalili, one of the study’s senior investigators. But he and other HIV experts emphasized that there is a big scientific leap from promising results in mice to success in humans.

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“We knew what we needed to do, but the technology was unavailable,” Khalili told The Washington Post, saying he and his team had been awaiting a tool like CRISPR.

With gene editing finally a reality, he said, “the outcome was amazing.”

Read full, original post: Scientists say they found a cure for HIV in some mice. Humans could be next.

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