Can gene therapy be harnessed to fight the AIDS virus? - (CTV News via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Researchers are attempting to develop gene therapy strategies that can combat HIV without the need for additional medication, as reported CTV News Tuesday.

  • "Gene therapy techniques have advanced greatly," commented Otto Yang of the UCLA AIDS Institute, adding "a lot of people are thinking it's the right time to go back."

  • "They're very bold, innovative techniques, mostly to try and cure people," noted Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, continuing "it's worth trying because the science is there."

  • Initial studies using gene-editing technology developed by Sangamo Therapeutics have been trying to replicate the effects observed in a patient who were cured of HIV following the transplantation of cells from a donor with natural immunity to the virus.

  • Although the investigators did not succeed in completely eradiating the virus, the strategy greatly reduced the number of cells in which HIV was in a dormant state.

  • Meanwhile, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania are assessing the combination of a gene therapy that improves the ability of T cells to recognize HIV with CAR-T therapy.

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