A group of scientists have, for the first time, eliminated HIV DNA from the genomes of living animals, in what is being described as a important step in the direction of growing a remedy for the AIDS virus.
The groundbreaking research, revealed in the journal Nature Communications, revealed that treatment to suppress HIV replication coupled with gene editing therapy can eliminate HIV from contaminated cells and organs.
Current HIV treatment focuses on the life-long use of antiretroviral therapy (ART), which suppresses HIV replication however doesn’t eliminate the virus. Dr Kamel Khalili, a senior investigator of the research, had found in previous work that through the use of the gene enhancing CRISPR-Cas9 technology, large fragments of HIV DNA may very well be removed from contaminated cells.
For the new research, Khalili and his colleagues mixed the gene editing system with a recently developed therapeutic technique often known as long-acting slow-effective release (LASER) ART. LASER limits HIV replication to low levels for prolonged durations of time, probably permitting time for the gene editing phase of the test to kick in.
The newly modified drug was packaged into nano crystals, which could be delivered to the HIV infected tissues and slowly release the drug for weeks.
The researchers then used a mixture of LASER ART and the CRISPR-Cas9 for treatment on mice specifically engineered to produce human cells susceptible to HIV. Remarkably, outcomes confirmed an entire elimination of HIV DNA in about one third of the HIV-infected mice, according to the team