Scientists develop new therapy that 'makes cells resistant to HIV'

Scientists at the Scripps Research Institute have created a new approach that results in HIV-resistant cells and it could potentially lead to new treatments down the road.

A press release about the development notes that the team, "...found a way to tether HIV-fighting antibodies to immune cells, creating a cell population resistant to the virus."

Early tests involving a common cold virus showed that when the natural process of cell death and repopulation occurred, the antibody-equipped cells proved both resilient and dominant.

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The news statement notes, "In essence, the researchers had forced the cells to compete in Darwinian, 'survival-of-the-fittest' selection in a lab dish. Cells without antibody protection died off, leaving protected cells to survive and multiply, passing on the protective gene to new cells."

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The release further explains, "This success led the researchers to test the same technique against HIV. To infect a person, all strains of HIV need to bind with a cell surface receptor called CD4. So the scientists tested antibodies that could potentially protect this receptor on the very immune cells normally killed by HIV. Again, their technique worked. After introducing cells to the virus, the researchers ended up with an HIV-resistant population."

More testing to determine the method's safety and effectiveness is needed before trials on humans can begin.

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