Treatment News : Advances in Gene Therapies That Act Like Fusion Inhibitors

POZ - Health, Life and HIV
Subscribe to:
POZ magazine
Join POZ: Facebook MySpace Twitter Pinterest
Tumblr Google+ Flickr MySpace
POZ Personals
Sign In / Join

Back to home » Treatment News » March 2013

Most Popular Links
Most Popular Lessons

The HIV Life Cycle


Herpes Simplex Virus

Syphilis & Neurosyphilis

Treatments for Opportunistic Infections (OIs)

What is AIDS & HIV?

Hepatitis & HIV

20 Years Ago In POZ

More Treatment News

Click here for more news

Have news about HIV? Send press releases, news tips and other announcements to


March 22, 2013

Advances in Gene Therapies That Act Like Fusion Inhibitors

CROI 2013Two new gene therapy studies further the hopes that scientists may develop widely replicable methods to control HIV through stem cell modification, aidsmap reports. Researchers presented findings from the studies as the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Atlanta.

In one paper, scientists at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute in Seattle extracted haematopoietic stem cells (HSCs), which manufacture blood cells, from the bone marrow of two pigtail macaque monkeys. The researchers then spliced into the stem cells’ genetic material instructions to express a peptide, which is a short chain of amino acids, called mC46. This peptide acts like a fusion inhibitor antiretroviral, blocking HIV’s ability to latch onto the CCR5 and CXCR4 coreceptors on the surface of CD4 cells. The researchers injected the modified stem cells back into the monkeys, replacing 20 percent of one monkey’s HSCs and more than half of the other’s.

After a week, the scientists infected both of the monkeys, along with a pair of control monkeys, with a strain of simian HIV (SHIV) genetically engineered to be particularly virulent. The control monkey’s CD4 levels dropped from about 600 before infection to between 10 and 50 two or three weeks after infection. The two monkeys with the genetically modified stem cells experienced a CD4 cell drop to about 100 after two weeks of infection and then saw their levels rebound to levels measured before infection.

All four monkeys’ viral load leapt to 1 billion after 10 days of infection, after which the control monkeys’ levels dropped to around 500,000 in one and about 10 million in the other. The monkey who received a 20 percent stem cell replacement experienced a viral load drop to about 100,000, and the monkey with over half of its stem cells replaced experienced a drop to just a few hundred. This represented a 320-fold drop in the first monkey and 1,400-fold in the other.

In the second study, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania attached fusion inhibitor peptides to the two CD4 coreceptors, which blocked HIV infection in a test tube. They found that the immune cells could still use the coreceptors for their normal functions: attaching to molecules that activate immune function. This suggests that such a therapy would have less likelihood of being toxic to the body.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the Fred Hutchinson study, click here.

To read the University of Pennsylvania study, click here.

Search: gene therapy, fusion inhibitor, stem cell modification, aidsmap, 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, CROI, haematopoietic stem cells, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Institute, CCR5, CXCR4, coreceptor, pigtail macaque monkey, viral load.

Scroll down to comment on this story.


(will display; 2-50 characters)


(will NOT display)


(will display; optional)

Comment (500 characters left):

(Note: The POZ team reviews all comments before they are posted. Please do not include either ":" or "@" in your comment. The opinions expressed by people providing comments are theirs alone. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Smart + Strong, which is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by people providing comments.)

Comments require captcha.
Please enter this number for verification:

| Posting Rules

Hide comments

Previous Comments:


[Go to top]

Facebook Twitter Google+ MySpace YouTube Tumblr Flickr Instagram
Quick Links
Current Issue

HIV Testing
Safer Sex
Find a Date
Newly Diagnosed
HIV 101
Disclosing Your Status
Starting Treatment
Help Paying for Meds
Search for the Cure
POZ Stories
POZ Opinion
POZ Exclusives
Read the Blogs
Visit the Forums
Job Listings
Events Calendar
POZ on Twitter

Ask POZ Pharmacist

Talk to Us
Did you participate in an event for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2016?


more surveys
Contact Us
We welcome your comments!
[ about Smart + Strong | about POZ | POZ advisory board | partner links | advertising policy | advertise/contact us | site map]
© 2016 Smart + Strong. All Rights Reserved. Terms of use and Your privacy.
Smart + Strong® is a registered trademark of CDM Publishing, LLC.