Gene Technique That Alters CCR5-Producing Gene Increases Resistance to HIV in Mice, Study Finds
July 3, 2008
Altering the gene that produces CCR5 protein on the surface of immune cells using a harmless virus was found to significantly increase resistance to HIV in mice, according to a study published Sunday in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the Press Trust of India reports (Press Trust of India, 7/1).
The company plans to begin human studies of the treatment before the end of this year, Bloomberg reports (Lauerman, Bloomberg, 6/29). According to the researchers, if the treatment is successful in human trials, it could offer a more effective way for controlling HIV for people living with the virus. "The zinc-finger approach has significant potential compared to other strategies," Ed Berger, an NIH researcher credited for helping establish the link between HIV and CCR5, said. He added, "With genetic knockout of CCR5 by the zinc finger, the cells lacking CCR5 have a selective advantage." John Moore, co-discoverer of the CCR5-HIV link, said although the science is excellent, he doubts whether the gene can be inhibited in enough T-cells to make a difference to people living with the disease (NewScientist.com, 6/30).
This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.