Elisabeth Manville
May 2, 2012

Stem cells successfully treat HIV in mouse model

Researchers from University of California, Davis demonstrated the safety and efficacy of transplanting anti-HIV stem cells into mouse models in a new study. The technique involves engineering stem cells with a triple combination of HIV-resistant genes, which replicate a normally functioning human immune system by protecting and expanding HIV-resistant immune cells. Even when facing the challenge of an HIV viral load, the cells thrived and self-renewed. “We envision this as a potential functional cure for patients infected with HIV, giving them the ability to maintain a normal immune system through genetic resistance,” lead author Joseph Anderson said, “Ideally, it would be a one-time treatment through which stem cells express HIV-resistant genes, which in turn generate an entire HIV-resistant immune system.” They used human blood stem cells in the new therapy and genetically modified them using several anti-HIV genes.