A new experimental technique in the future will remove skin cells from HIV patients, manipulate the cells bringing them to a state similar to that of stem cells, and then re-implant them in the same patient to eliminate the virus. The technique is still in the experimental phase in mice, but according to Gerhard Bauer, presenting the initial results of his study today at the 50th American Society of Hematology Congress in San Francisco, it’s a possibility. Bauer has been working for more than 10 years on this technique together with colleague Joseph Anderson.
The objective is to identify anti-HIV genes and insert them into stem cells produced by the skin. His UC Davis-Sacramento research team will also be present at the conference, and together they will present their study, which will lead to clinical genetic experimentation to demonstrate the safety of their method. Bauer hopes to be able perform clinical experimentation on human beings within five years. “The transformed cells, called pluripotent stem cells, are able to differentiate into different types of cells, which include hematopoietic stem cells found in the bone marrow, which produce various types of immune cells. “The next step is a test on human beings,” said Bauer.