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Regina Bailey

Engineering HIV Resistant Cells

By January 23, 2013

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HIV (green) Budding From A T-Cell Lymphocyte (pink)
Credit: CDC / C. Goldsmith, et al.

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have genetically engineered immune system T cells to be resistant to HIV infection. They accomplished this by inserting HIV resistant genes into the T cell genome. These genes blocked entry of the virus into the cell.

According to researcher Matthew Porteus, "We inactivated one of the receptors that HIV uses to gain entry and added new genes to protect against HIV, so we have multiple layers of protection -- what we call stacking. We can use this strategy to make cells that are resistant to both major types of HIV." If it is shown that this approach to treating HIV infection could be used as a type of gene therapy, this method could potentially replace the current drug therapy method. This type of gene therapy would not cure HIV infection, but would provide a source of resistant T cells that could stabilize the immune system and prevent the development of AIDS.

Learn more about this study, see:

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