Update on Genetic Engineering for an HIV Cure

Update on Genetic Engineering for an HIV Cure

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Genome engineering is an experimental approach for achieving a functional cure of HIV by genetically engineering CD4 T cells to become resistant to HIV, Paula Cannon, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California explained during a presentation at ASM Microbe 2016. A "functional cure" is generally defined as achieving a sustained undetectable viral load without continued antiretroviral therapy and without transmitting HIV.

Genome engineering is an experimental approach for achieving a functional cure of HIV by genetically engineering CD4 T cells to become resistant to HIV, Paula Cannon, Ph.D., of the University of Southern California explained during a presentation at ASM Microbe 2016. A "functional cure" is generally defined as achieving a sustained undetectable viral load without continued antiretroviral therapy and without transmitting HIV.

The only HIV patient known to have been cured of HIV, Timothy Ray Brown, received a transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) that lacked the CCR5 co-receptor necessary for HIV to attach. Brown's body then generated his own CD4 T cells from these donor HSC, leading to resistance against HIV. This approach could be mimicked by genetically engineering a patient's own HSC so that they become CCR5 negative.

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