Gene Therapy Shows Promising Results Against HIV
The uses gene therapy to treat HIV patients shows promising results in clinical trial phase 2.

The results on 74 volunteers show that the technique is safe and has reduced the effects of viruses on the immune system. The research was conducted by the University of California (USA) and results are published in the medical journal Nature Medicine.

Gene therapy could theoretically afford to replace it with a single treatment the anti-viral combination therapies administered to HIV-positive life.

The team led by Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu, University of California at Los Angeles (USA) conducted the test on 74 volunteers infected with HIV. These were divided into two groups by drawing lots.

Stem Cells
Patients were well received either placebo or blood stem cells carrying a molecule called "OZ1", a kind of enzyme ( "ribozime"), designed to prevent viral replication by targeting two proteins of the virus for its proliferation .

The use of blood stem cells is to ensure future generations of cells containing the same genetic program modified for therapeutic purposes.

The molecule OZ1 did not cause any unwanted side effects during the trial.

After 48 weeks, no statistical difference in viral load (concentration of virus in the blood) between the two groups. After 100 weeks, the number of CD4 +-cells, which decreases immune from the virus - was higher in the group treated with gene therapy than in placebo.

According to Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu

"Gene therapy is a treatment that is administered only once and allow the body to defend themselves against the virus without the ongoing contribution of anti-viral field. "

"The treatment is far from perfect and is not as effective as anti-viral therapies, but the current study is a proof of concept, that advertise and administer a single gene in the patient's stem cells that reinjected it into the blood reduces virus replication. "

A long-term monitoring would still be necessary, according to Dr. Mitsuyasu, to ensure that there is no danger to the patient.

Source: University of California - Los Angeles


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