New Gene Therapy Method Makes T-Cells HIV-Resistant

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A team of researchers from Japan, Korea, and the United States has developed an gene therapy method that aims to make T-cells resistant to HIV infection without affecting their normal growth and activity.

The method, which was published in Human Gene Therapy, involves a bacterial gene called MazF, an enzyme that destroys gene transcripts thus preventing protein synthesis. These genes are then transferred into CD4+ T-cells. The synthesis of the MazF protein is triggered by HIV infection. When the virus infected T lymphocytes treated with the gene, MazF is induced thus blocking HIV replication and making the T-cells HIV resistant.

“The potential of using vectors to express genes within a cell to block viral infection was first considered by David Baltimore in a strategy called ‘intracellular immunization.’ This study illustrates a unique way in which intracellular immunization can be achieved,” said James M. Wilson, director of gene therapy program of Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia.

Source: Sify
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