IAS 2015: Zinc Finger Nuclease Genome Editing [VIDEO]

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Researchers used a zinc finger nuclease protein to delete a gene for the CCR5 receptor from stem cells in monkeys, an advance that could play a role in efforts to achieve a functional cure for HIV, according to a report at the 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention last month in Vancouver.

[Christopher Peterson, IAS 2015, July 21, 2015]

Christopher Peterson from the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle presented his findings at the conference and at the preceding IAS Towards an HIV Cure Symposium. He also summarized his research at an IAS media briefing.

Most strains of HIV need to use the CCR5 co-receptor to enter CD4 T-cells. Zinc finger gene therapy has already been successfully used to cut CCR5 out of T-cells, but cutting it out of stem cells -- which give rise to all types of blood cells -- could potentially produce a longer-lasting effect.

Peterson reported that monkey bone marrow transplants using CCR5-deleted stem cells appeared safe and the altered cells engrafted as expected. However, it is still too soon to say whether they will lead to slower HIV rebound after stopping antiretroviral therapy.

8/5/15

Reference

C Peterson, J Wang, P Polacino, et al. Zinc finger nuclease gene editing for functional cure in a nonhuman primate model of HIV/AIDS. 8th International AIDS Society Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention. Vancouver, July 19-22, 2015. Abstract TUAA0202.