A Potential Cure for AIDS: Defeating HIV With a Single Injection
The technology also has the potential to be developed into a cure for AIDS. A new study from Tel Aviv University proposes a novel AIDS treatment that could be turned into a vaccine or a one-time treatment for HIV patients
The research explored modifying type B white blood cells in the patient’s body to release anti-HIV antibodies in response to the virus. Dr. Adi Barzel and Ph.D. student Alessio Nehmad led the study, which was conducted in partnership with the Sourasky Medical Center (Ichilov), the George S. Wise department of life sciences, and the Dotan Center for Advanced Therapies. The study was carried out in cooperation with other researchers from Israel and the United States. The findings were published recently in the renowned journal Nature Biotechnology.
Many Potential Cure for AIDS patients’ lives have improved during the past two decades as a result of the administration of medicines that have transformed the condition from fatal to chronic. However, we have a long way to go before finding a medication that can offer patients a permanent cure. Dr. Barzel’s laboratory pioneered one feasible method, a one-time injection. His team devised a technology that employs type B white blood cells that are genetically altered within the patient’s body to release neutralizing antibodies against the HIV virus, which causes the disease. B cells are white blood cells that produce antibodies against viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Bone marrow is where B cells are formed. When they mature, B cells move into the blood and lymphatic system and from there to the different body parts.
Dr. Barzel explains: “Until now, only a few scientists, and we among them, had been able to engineer B cells outside of the body, Potential Cure for AIDS and in this study, we were the first to do this in the body and to make these cells generate desired antibodies. The genetic engineering is done with viral carriers derived from viruses that were engineered so as not to cause damage but only to bring the gene coding for the antibody into the B cells in the body. Additionally, in this case, we have been able to accurately introduce the antibodies into a desired site in the B cell genome. All model animals who had been administered the treatment responded and had high quantities of the desired antibody in their blood. We produced the antibody from the blood and made sure it was actually effective in neutralizing the HIV virus in the lab dish.”
The genetic editing was done with CRISPR. This is a technology based on a bacterial immune system against viruses. The bacteria use the CRISPR systems as a sort of molecular “search engine” to locate viral sequences and cut them in order to disable them. Two biochemists who had figured out the sophisticated defense mechanism, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, were able to reroute for the cleavage of any DNA of choice. The technology has since been used to either disable unwanted genes or repair and insert desired genes. Doudna and Charpentier earned international recognition when they became chemistry Nobel Prize winners in 2020.
Source: This news s originally published by scitechdaily
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