IAS 2019 — Genome-editing therapies show promise for HIV control


  • Myriam Vidal Valero
  • Conference Reports
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Takeaway

  • Researchers are working to suppress HIV infection using genome-editing technologies.
  • They seek to make HIV-resistant cells by disrupting the gene that encodes the CCR5 coreceptor.
  • 8 patients are currently in treatment in this trial.

Why this matters

  • Genome-editing therapies could control HIV infection through cells engineered for infection resistance.

Key highlights

  • Researchers are working to isolate human stem cells and engineer them to be CCR5-negative.
  • Their goal is drug-free control of virus replication or eradication by developing therapies that become a 1-time treatment.
  • Extracted stem cells from patients are treated with busulfan to allow for their return after engineering.
  • At 9 months, patients who have CCR5-negative edited cells in the blood may undergo an analytical treatment interruption (ATI) and start taking antiretroviral drugs to see if the treatment has had any effect.
  • If HIV starts to come back, the researchers expect that the edited cells will have a selective advantage in controlling the virus.
  • 14 patients are enrolled, 8 have been treated, and 2 of those have gone long enough that they have reached the ATI stage.
  • The planned follow-up period is 15 years.