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Scientists remove HIV-1 from genome of human immune cells


With the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing technique, scientists discovered editing HIV from DNA stopped reinfection by other, unedited cells.

PHILADELPHIA, March 21 (UPI) — Scientists edited HIV-1 DNA from the genome of human immune cells, protecting against virus replication and reinfection of the cleared cells.

With the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing method, scientists at Temple University removed HIV-1 DNA from T cell genomes in laboratory tests, and stopped reinfection when the cells were re-exposed to the virus, they submit in the research published in Nature: Scientific Reports.

The CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing approach uses guide RNA proteins to change particular areas of DNA in the cell. Earlier, experts at Temple got edited HIV DNA from human cell lines. Recent research, through patient cells grown in the laboratory, expressed cleared cells were never at risk of infection by HIV.

Dr. Kamel Khalili, director of the Comprehensive NeuroAIDS Center at Temple University and also a researcher involved with the research, claimed that while antiretroviral drugs will help eliminate HIV infection, when patients quit using them, the virus begins duplicating again through copies of their DNA within various cells.

“The conclusions are very important on numerous levels,” Khalili stated in a news release. “They demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of CD4 T-cells and, by introducing mutations into the viral genome, permanently inactivating its replication. Further, they show that the system can protect cells from reinfection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.”

The scientists edited out the HIV-1 proviral DNA in T-cell genomes of human cell lines through CRISPR, discovering the cells were protected against reinfection by other, unedited cells.

Using T-cells out of HIV patients grown in cell culture, the scientists claimed with the gene editing approach decreased viral load within the patient’s cells, recommending it may be used as a cure.

“These tests hadn’t been conducted earlier to this level”, Khalili said “But the questions they address are critical, and the results allow us to move ahead with this technology.”

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