Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene Therapy Shows Promise As Weapon Against HIV

Date:
February 26, 2009
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
A new study has found that gene therapy can be developed as a safe and active technique to combat HIV. Researchers involved in this first-of-its-kind study found that cell-delivered gene transfer has the potential to be a once-only treatment that reduces viral load, preserves the immune system and avoids lifelong antiretroviral therapy.

A new UCLA AIDS Institute study has found that gene therapy can be developed as a safe and active technique to combat HIV.

Researchers involved in this first-of-its-kind study found that cell-delivered gene transfer has the potential to be a once-only treatment that reduces viral load, preserves the immune system and avoids lifelong antiretroviral therapy. The study appears in the current online edition of the journal Nature Medicine.

Though modest, the results do show some promise that gene therapy can be developed as a potentially effective treatment for HIV, said lead investigator Dr. Ronald Mitsuyasu, professor of medicine and director of the Center for Clinical AIDS Research and Education (CARE) at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

"It is the first randomized controlled study done with gene therapy in HIV," said Mitsuyasu, who is also an associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute. "What we were able to demonstrate was that the patients who received the gene-modified cells had a somewhat better suppression of their HIV viral replication after discontinuing their highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) treatment, compared with the controls."

This was the first randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled gene-transfer clinical trial and involved 74 HIV-positive adults.

The patients received their own blood stem cells, either untreated or modified to carry a molecule called OZ1, which prevents viral replication by targeting a key HIV gene. OZ1 was safe, causing no adverse effects over the course of the 100-week trial.

At the primary end-point, the difference in viral load between the OZ1 and placebo group at weeks seven and eight, after they had stopped HAART treatment, was not statistically significant. But other viral parameters did demonstrate better HIV suppression and improvement in the counts of CD4+ lymphocytes — the cell population that is depleted by HIV.

The technique still needs to be developed further and perfected, Mitsuyasu said.

"Part of the reason that we didn't see a larger effect is that the persistence of the anti-HIV gene in the patient's blood was not as long as we would have liked," he said. "We need to find better ways to get the genes into the patients and maintain them, which could include using different vectors to get the gene into the cells or conditioning the patients prior to gene transfer."

Still, the results indicate that gene therapy could eventually be a useful tool in the fight against AIDS, said study co-author Dr. Thomas C. Merigan, the George and Lucy Becker Professor of Medicine emeritus at the Stanford University School of Medicine. He agrees that more needs to be done to perfect it.

"But in the way we set up the trial with randomized placebo controls, we could dissect out that there was a positive effect in patients who had the gene successfully installed," Merigan said. "This could be a first step in developing a new method of controlling a chronic infectious disease."

This study was funded by Johnson and Johnson Research Pty Limited. Grants from the National Institutes of Health also helped support part of the research.

In addition to Mitsuyasu and Merigan, authors are Andrew Carr, Jerome A Zack, Mark A. Winters, Cassy Workman, Mark Bloch, Jacob Lalezari, Stephen Becker, Lorna Thornton, Bisher Akil, Homayoon Khanlou, Robert Finlayson, Robert McFarlane, Don E. Smith, Roger Garsia, David Ma, Matthew Law, John M. Murray, Christof von Kalle, Julie A. Ely, Sharon M. Patino, Alison E. Knop, Philip Wong, Alison V. Todd, Margaret Haughton, Caroline Fuery, Janet L. Macpherson, Geoff P. Symonds, Louise A. Evans, Susan M. Pond and David A. Cooper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Gene Therapy Shows Promise As Weapon Against HIV." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 February 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223091801.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2009, February 26). Gene Therapy Shows Promise As Weapon Against HIV. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223091801.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Gene Therapy Shows Promise As Weapon Against HIV." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090223091801.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins