Gene therapy may offer ‘functional’ cure for HIV

A strategy to genetically modify cells from people infected with HIV could become a way to control the virus that causes AIDS without using antiviral drugs, according to results from an early-stage trial that were published on Wednesday. Data from the small study of the Sangamo BioSciences therapy, known by the code name SB-728-T, were issued in the New England Journal of Medicine, the first publication of data from a human trial of a technology called “gene editing.” The technique is designed to disrupt a gene, CCR5, used by HIV to infect T-cells, the white blood cells that fight viral infections. A patient’s cells are removed and processed to alter the DNA that codes for the CCR5 receptor. The Phase 1 trial, led by the University of Pennsylvania, enrolled 12 HIV patients.
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