Scientists Discover Potential HIV Cure

Scientists Discover Potential HIV Cure that Eliminates Disease from Cells Using CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing

Breakthrough brings Temple researchers and their collaborators closer to a cure for human HIV infection

Temple Researchers One Step Closer to Potential HIV Cure | Temple Health-Scientists Discover Potential HIV Cure
Scientists Discover Potential HIV Cure

Last year a new study provided hope for a cure for HIV, and now the researchers behind it have released a larger, international study that seem to bring us even closer. The key may lie in experimental medicine, which in both studies has been shown to enhance the immune system’s own ability to suppress the virus.

Even though one case had been proved to be cured, still a practical cure is far beyond the reach. Numerous approaches and strategies had been put forth to achieve a cure; still they are to be proved with human studies.

A new study has unveiled a likely future cure for HIV which uses molecular scissors to ‘cut out’ HIV DNA from infected cells.

To cut out this virus, the team used CRISPR-Cas gene editing technology—a groundbreaking method that allows for precise alterations to a patient’s genome, for which its inventors won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.

One of the significant challenges in HIV treatment is the virus’s ability to integrate its genome into the host’s DNA, making it extremely difficult to eliminate—but the CRISPR-Cas tool provides a new means to isolate and target HIV DNA.

Because HIV can infect different types of cells and tissues in the body, each with its own unique environment and characteristics, the researchers are searching for a way to target HIV in all of these situations.

In this study, which is to be presented ahead of this year’s European Congress of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, the authors used CRISPR-Cas and two guide RNAs against “conserved” HIV sequences.

They focused on parts of the virus genome that stay the same across all known HIV strains and infected T cells. Their experiments showed outstanding antiviral performance, managing to completely inactivate HIV with a single guide RNA and cut out the viral DNA

HIV AIDS virus (in yellow) infecting a human cell – Credit: National Cancer Institute
HIV AIDS virus (in yellow) infecting a human cell – Credit: National Cancer Institute

There’s currently no lasting cure for HIV, but scientists are hopeful that a cure may become available in the future. Researchers are continuing to develop and test new treatments for HIV, including: new antiretroviral medications. stem cell transplants for HIV.

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