Editing Blood Cells to Fight HIV

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  • Harvard researchers have used a new gene-editing technique to create what could prove to be a method for blocking HIV from invading and destroying patients' immune systems.
  • This is the first published report of a group using CRISPRC as technology to efficiently and precisely edit clinically relevant genes out of cells collected directly from people,
  • The work was led by Chad Cowan and Derrick Rossi, associate professors in Harvard University .
  • HIV targets T cells, a principal portion of the bloodbased immune system, and enters via a gene receptor called CCR5 that serves as a doorway into the cells.
  • Once inside the T cells, HIV replicates and kills off the host cells, leaving patients at the mercy of a variety of opportunistic infections.
  • Using the CRISPRC as gene editing technology , the researchers knocked the CCR5 receptor out of blood stem cells that they showed could give rise to differentiated blood cells that did not have CCR5