Researchers develop HIV-resistant cells
By using a "cut and paste" method to manipulate cell genes, the cells became resistant
By Ruthann Richter
Stanford School of Medicine
STANFORD, Calif. — Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have found a novel way to engineer key cells of the immune system so they remain resistant to infection with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
A new study describes the use of a kind of molecular scissors to cut and paste a series of HIV-resistant genes into T cells, specialized immune cells targeted by the AIDS virus. The genome editing was made in a gene that the virus uses to gain entry into the cell. By inactivating a receptor gene and inserting additional anti-HIV genes, the virus was blocked from entering the cells, thus preventing it from destroying the immune system, said Matthew Porteus, MD, an associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford and a pediatric hematologist/oncologist at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
“We inactivated one of the receptors that HIV uses to gain entry and added new genes to protect against HIV, so we have multiple layers of protection — what we call stacking,” said Porteus, the study’s principal investigator. “We can use this strategy to make cells that are resistant to both major types of HIV.”
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