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Medical News & Perspectives |

Gene Researchers Work to Engineer HIV-Resistant Cells

Tracy Hampton, PhD
JAMA. 2014;312(4):323-325. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.8659.
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Ever since the evolution of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, researchers have long sought effective strategies to prevent HIV infection or help the body keep the virus in check after infection has occurred. In addition to a decades-long effort to develop an effective vaccine and continuing research to find less toxic drugs, some researchers are focusing on another strategy—modifying the genes of host cells to make them resistant to infection.

“To date, vaccines and current drug therapies have shown a limited ability to achieve functional control of HIV infection, as defined by a state where patients no longer are required to take medication on a daily basis,” said Carl June, MD, a professor of immunology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

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HIV can invade host cells by binding to the CD4 receptor on the host cell surface and to a coreceptor, CCR5. Preventing expression of CCR5 may help patients with HIV control the infection.

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