Researchers from Tel Aviv University have developed a new technology that could potentially offer a one-time treatment for HIV.
The scientists from the Dotan Center for Advanced Therapies and the Sourasky Medical Center engineered B white blood cells in vivo to secrete antibodies in response to the virus providing immunoprotection, publishing their results in Nature Biotechnology.
Many in the scientific community argue that given the constantly mutating virus and its stealth ability to hide in cell reservoirs, an HIV cure might never be possible. But within the industry, optimism is high regarding the feasibility of ending the HIV epidemic.
Since B cells play a crucial role in antibody response against viruses, bacteria and more, the team used a combination of AAV and CRISPR viral carriers, injected into mice, to alter the genome site and elicit an immune response to HIV. They hope the method can ultimately be used to offer people living with HIV a one-time treatment injection.
“In vivo B cell engineering to express therapeutic antibodies is a safe, potent and scalable method, which may be applicable not only to infectious diseases but also in the treatment of non-communicable conditions, such as cancer and autoimmune disease,” said the research team.