Researchers at the University of Texas and Stanford University have blocked HIV from invading healthy cells in the laboratory, saying the work could lead to treating patients without drugs.
The scientists knocked out a gene involved in HIV and inserted three genes that help the cells resist the virus in a process they call ‘targeted stacking.’ The research was published this week in the journal Molecular Therapy.
The process is three to five years away from being tried in humans and mirrors recent strategies to attack HIV, the precursor to AIDS, at the genetic level. But the UT and Stanford scientists said their method is more precise — and more effective.
It combines two different approaches — using a zinc protein to inactivate an HIV gene and then adding blockers to fight off both types, or strains, of the virus.