Human stem cells engineered `to seek out and kill HIV`
Washington: In a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS, scientists claim to have for the first time shown that human stem cells can be genetically engineered to seek out and kill HIV-infected cells in a living organism.
The study demonstrates for the first time that engineering stem cells to form immune cells that target HIV is effective in suppressing the virus in living tissues in an animal model, said lead scientist Scott G Kitchen.
He added: "We believe that this study lays the groundwork for the potential use of this type of an approach in combating HIV infection in infected individuals, in hopes of eradicating the virus from the body."
In their previous research, the scientists took CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes -- the "killer" T cells that help fight infection -- from an HIV-infected individual and identified the molecule known as the T cell receptor, which guides T cell in recognising and killing HIV-infected cells.
In their latest research, the scientists at California University similarly engineered human blood stem cells and found that they can form mature T cells that can attack HIV in tissues where the virus resides and replicates.
They did so by using a surrogate model, the humanised mouse, in which HIV infection closely resembles the disease and its progression in humans.
In a series of tests on the mice`s peripheral blood, plasma and organs conducted two weeks and six weeks after introducing the engineered cells, the scientists found that the number of CD4 "helper" T cells -- which become depleted as a result of HIV infection -- increased, while levels of HIV in the blood decreased.
CD4 cells are white blood cells that are an important component of immune system, helping to fight off infections.
These results indicated that the engineered cells were capable of developing and migrating to the organs to fight infection there, the `PLoS Pathogens` journal reported.
"We believe that this is the first step in developing a more aggressive approach in correcting the defects in the human T cell responses that allow HIV to persist in infected people," Kitchen said.
Download the all new Zee News app for Android and iOS to stay up to date with latest headlines and news stories in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, Business and much more from India and around the world.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- DNA: Exiled Kashmiri Pandits share their heart wrenching stories
- Basic ideals of Constitution are in danger: Sonia Gandhi
- PM Modi greets nation on occasion of first Constitution Day
- Manjula Vaghela's journey: From rag picker to head of a firm with Rs 1 cr turnover!
- Indian Army faces shortage of field firing ranges in J&K
- Woman commits suicide after heated discussion with husband over Aamir Khan's intolerance remark
- Intolerance issue: Those attacking me are only proving my point, says Aamir Khan – Read full statement
- Setback to Kejriwal-led AAP as MLA Akhilesh Tripathi arrested in riot case
- 10 interesting facts about Constitution which every Indian must know
- See pic: Genelia marks son's birthday!