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Powerful CAR-T duo uses artificial ‘claws’ to grab and destroy HIV

| | August 23, 2019
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Image: Sam Ogden.
This article or excerpt is included in the GLP’s daily curated selection of ideologically diverse news, opinion and analysis of biotechnology innovation.

Lengtigen, a biotech company based in Gaithersburg, MD, teamed up with researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York to dust off a blue-sky idea inspired by people who naturally fight off HIV. What if there’s a way to recreate super-powered immune cells in the lab? And what if we could do this using the patient’s own immune cells to prevent rejection?

Described in Science Translational Medicine, the team engineered super-immune T cells that are not only resistant to HIV infection, but that can also efficiently hunt down strains widely different in their genetic makeup, including those that normally escape other treatments. Inspired by cancer CAR-T, the team engineered two artificial “claws” onto natural T cells that grab onto the surface of HIV in a death grip. In mice injected with HIV-infected human cells, the amped-up duo CAR-T cells suppressed the virus by 97 percent in their spleens—normally a sanctuary for the HIV virus to regroup and bide its time.

“CAR-T cells are making massive advances in cancer, so there’s a huge rationale to expanding their use in the HIV cure effort,” [researcher Steven Deeks] said.

Read full, original post: This CAR-T Tag-Team Could Wipe Out HIV for Good

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