Blocking HIV's Attack

February 15, 2012

Scientific American

Recent strides in treating AIDS using DNA altered by a molecular scissors in immune cells to make them HIV-resistant is described in a Scientific American article authored by Carl June, MD, director, Translational Research in the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute, and professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; and Bruce Levine, PhD, director, Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility and associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. The scissors -- a zinc finger protein -- brings a DNA enzyme to the CCR5 gene to cut a portion of its sequence, but due to the repair process a new mutation arises in the CCR5 protein, rendering it non-functional. Without a functional CCR5 protein on the cell's surface, HIV cannot enter, leading to resistance to HIV infection. The door to HIV’s entry into the T cell is slammed shut, and if the cells are induced to divide, a form of spreading HIV resistance can result... Read More