A Cure for HIV? CCR5 Protein Modification by ZFNs of CD4+ T-Cells Used in Gene Therapy to Treat Infections


Current HIV treatment uses anti-retroviral drugs that can be inconvenient to use as patients have to keep to a tight schedule and can also cause numerous side effects such as abacavir hypersensitivity reaction (fever, nausea, vomiting, and other side effects from taking abacavir), bleeding, bone loss, heart disease, high blood sugar and diabetes, high lactic acid levels in the blood (lactic acidosis) and kidney, liver, or pancreas damage among others. The New England Journal of Medicine published a paper on 6th of March 2014 entitled 'Gene Editing of CCR5 in Autologous CD4+ T-cells of persons infected with HIV'. 12 patients who were infected with HIV were subjected to the treatment which was a success as most had a high CD4+ T-cell count by the end of the 16 week experiment. The treatment uses zinc finger nucleases to 'edit' out the particular part of the genome that code of the CCR5 receptor on the CD4+ T-Cell surface, thereby preventing the HIV virus' from entering the cells.





Publication date

May 2016


29 - 33