Scientists Devise Method of Snipping HIV From Immune Cells

July 24, 2014 - AIDSmeds.

Researchers have created a genetic treatment that, for the first time, has succeeded in removing HIV from infected human cells, providing hope that the technique may be used as part of a treatment, cure or vaccine for the virus. Publishing their findings in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers devised molecular tools that delete HIV proviral DNA from infected cells.

When HIV infects a human cell, it integrates its DNA into the cell. The new technique takes what's known as a "guide RNA," or gRNA, which hunts down the virus's genetic material, and pairs it with an enzyme called a nuclease that snips DNA out of the cell. The cell's own methods of repairing genes then kick into gear, bringing the loose ends of the spliced genome back together. The result: a virus-free cell. Continue reading

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Judith Auerbach, Ph.D., is a public sociologist, independent science and policy consultant, and adjunct professor in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) who has demonstrated a lifelong commitment to helping women with HIV.

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