Back grey arrow rt.gif
Gene Editing "Cure Trials Predicted to Start Within 3 Years
from Jules: of course first this new approach would have to be proven safe & effective and an initial study in humans would have to start the process
"should be entering into clinical trials within three years."...."The new technique - called Crispr/Cas9 - involves targeting the genetic code of HIV which inserts itself into cells. Scientists take a protein called Cas9 and modify it so it can recognise viral code."
The research was published in the Nature journal, Scientific Reports.
Blood is then extracted from the patient and the Cas9 protein added where it seeks out the HIV DNA in immune cells. Once it finds it, it releases an enzyme which removes the sequence, effectively snipping out the virus. The healthy modified cells would the be transfused back into the patient.
Scientists believe that replacing just 20 per cent of immune cells with the genetically altered cells would be enough to cure the disease.
After the viral sequence has been removed from the DNA, the loose ends of the genome are reunited by the cell's own repair machinery. The cleared cells are then pumped back into the patient.
"This is a technology which enables you to change the genes. Effectively you can engineer the body to cure itself from the inside."
scientists in the US have shown it is possible to use state-of-the-art genetic editing technology to literally cut away the virus from the DNA of cells.
researchers at Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, are confident that within three years they will be able to start trials on humans.
British experts said it the treatment would effectively 'engineer the body to cure itself from the inside
Crucially the human immune cells which were tested in the lab showed no alteration to any other parts of the genetic code. There have been fears that altering DNA could trigger a cascade of genetic breaks which would prove harmful or even lethal to humans.
"The fact that for the first time we have been able to completely eliminate segments of the viral genome in the laboratory demonstrates that we should be able to eliminate it in the human body," said lead researcher Professor Kamel Khalili.
"The findings are important on multiple levels. They demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of immune cells and permanently inactivating its replication.
"Further, they show that the system can protect cells from reinfection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.
"It has huge potential. Based on the findings we should be entering into clinical trials within three years."

  iconpaperstack View Older Articles   Back to Top