Thursday, December 1, 2011

Gene Therapy Protects Mice Against HIV from Medical News Today

December 1st, World AIDS Day, and we find ourselves reflecting on how nearly 30 years after it first reared its ugly head, HIV is still newly infecting some two million adults a year, and despite millions of dollars and hours of research, the virus has proved elusive and slippery to vaccine developers. But an alternative path is starting to open up: gene therapy.

A new study published in Nature on Wednesday, describes how Nobel Laureate David Baltimore, a virologist and HIV researcher at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, and colleagues, inserted a gene into the leg muscles of lab mice bred to be susceptible to human HIV, that caused them to make a broad range of antibodies that protected them against exposure to HIV.

This is still a long way from developing a gene therapy approach that works in humans, but it's a start. In fact it's more than a start because this has been done before, with monkeys. In 2009, researchers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, were the first to raise the possibility of gene therapy for preventing HIV when they showed it was effective in preventing transmission of the simian immunodeficiency virus, which is similar to HIV but infects monkeys.

For the full article please go here.

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