Expanding on previous research providing proof-of-principle that human stem cells can be genetically engineered into HIV-fighting cells, a team of UCLA researchers has now demonstrated that these cells can actually attack HIV-infected cells in a living organism.
The study, published April 12 in the journal PLoS Pathogens, demonstrates for the first time that engineering stem cells to form immune cells that target HIV is effective in suppressing the virus in living tissues in an animal model, said lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen, an assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the David Geffen School of
Gerhard Bauer, an American researcher and expert on ‘mother’ stem cells, during the 50th congress of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) in San Francisco, announced that human testing for an AIDS treatment based on genetically modified stem cells could begin within 5 years. Bauer has been working for the past 10 years on modified stem cells that could repair strongly compromised immune systems in HIV patients. “For this reason the apparent success obtained by German researchers on an American patient with AIDS and leukemia reinforces the idea that we are on the right path.”
Last month the German
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Drs. Scott Kitchen, Zoran Galic, Jerry Zack of the UCLA Broad Stem Cell Research Center and AIDS Institute and their colleagues demonstrated for the first time that human blood stem cells can be engineered into cells that can target and kill HIV-infected cells. The process could potentially be used against a range of chronic viral diseases.
The study, published Dec. 7 in the-peer reviewed online journal PLoS ONE, provides proof-of-principle, a demonstration of feasibility, that human stem cells can be engineered into the equivalent of a genetic vaccine.
“We have demonstrated in this proof-of-principle study that
Stem cell transplantation in a 42-year-old HIV patient with leukemia has wiped out the virus from his body, the doctor of Berlin Charité Hospital confirms.
“The patient is fine,” said Dr. Gero Hutter, a haematologist at the Berlin Charité Hospital. “Today, two years after his transplantation, he is still without any signs of HIV disease and without antiretroviral medication.”
The doctor observed that using the stem cells from a donor who carries a unique gene mutation i.e. delta 32 ccr5 along with a tissue match, could now cure the patient from the HIV virus. Delta 32 ccr5 makes the cells resistant