Biotech Updates

Gene Therapy Can Protect Against HIV

December 2, 2011

Scientists from California Institute of Technology have discovered how a single injection could completely protect animals against HIV transmission. David Baltimore, a virologist and HIV researcher, together with his team of experts, used genetically engineered adenovirus to infect muscle cells and deliver DNA that codes for antibodies collected from the HIV patients. The DNA is injected into the muscle cells' genome then it dictates the cells to secrete the antibody into the bloodstream. They tested five neutralizing antibodies in mice with humanize immune systems. After 52 weeks of observation, the the antibody expression remained high, implying that a single dose could give long-lasting protection. This will be followed by human trials.

"This is something way out of the ordinary, and it's perfectly reasonable to say that there's no reason to do it if there's an alternative," says Baltimore. "But if there's no alternative — and that's where we're at today — then we should be thinking of new ways to protect people."

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