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Cure for HIV/AIDS: Chinese Scientists used CRISPR To Treat HIV Infection

A new study published about HIV cure: Chinese scientists are using CRISPR gene-editing technology to treat the patient with HIV.

In the New England Journal, a study published and mentions that gene-editing tool is very first time used in an experimental HIV therapy. Authors of the study said the treatment was not able to treat HIV infection of the patient. However, no unintended genetic alterations detected in the patient.

Well, it is an appreciate work towards the usage of CRISPR in HIV treatment. This tool helps the researchers to replace or edit the DNA of HIV patients.  Dr. Amesh Adalja said it was an innovative experiment that was also safe.

Dr. Amesh was not involved in the experiment while he is an infectious disease specialist at the John Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore. He said that this experiment should be successful.

It was a very different study in which scientists edited the DNA of embryos so that the gene Alterations can be passed into the next generation. Well, these changes were made in adult DNA cells. Therefore, it would not be transferred.

The study was done on a single patient that was suffering from blood cancer. There was a need for Bone marrow transplantation. Chinese scientists used the opportunity to edit DNA in bone marrow stem cells from a donor before bone marrow transplantation.

They deleted a gene CCR5 with the help of CRISPR. This gene occupies in the immune cells surface that gives instructions to protein. HIV infection uses this as a port to enter into the cells.

People who have a mutation in the CCr5 gene are resistant to HIV infection. Only two patients From HIV infection cured who had natural CCr5 mutation.

Well, it is difficult to find bone marrow donors with particular CCr5 mutation. After getting the bone marrow transplantation, leukemia patients was full remission. Medical tests show that edited stem cells can grow and produce blood cells.

The patient stopped taking HIV medications, but the virus started to increase in the body. So he again starts to take drugs, and results were unlike the other two patients who can remain HIV free without taking medications.

In Beijing patient, the gene-editing process was not efficient; therefore, the response was low. The research said, to improve the gene-editing process, it would start with pluripotent stem cells that can form any cell type in the body.

They will use these cells in the editing with CRISPR to inactivate CCR5. Well, they cleared that this therapy is only possible in one marrow transplant. Dr. Adalija said HIV infected people also need to bone transplantation that also a dangerous procedure.

CCR5 mutation protects against HIV; however, some genetic modification could also be harmful. A study published related to it in which aid that the CCR5 mutation also increases the chances of early death.

Therefore, researchers noted the important thing that In HIV treatment, modification of CCR5 will work only with blood stem cells that ould not affect the other CCR5 genes of different body tissues.

Dr. Carl June, who is the director of the Center for cellular immunotherapies, says that in the future effect of using CRISPR for HIV will be followed for a more extended period.

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