Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

HIV & AIDS Health Center

Font Size

Gene Silencing May Stop AIDS Virus

Study Shows New Technique Has Potential as AIDS Therapy

continued...

"In the approach with the stem-cell gene-therapy approach, we are programming blood-forming stem cells with anti-HIV siRNA so that the stem cells are viable lifelong in the individual," Akkina says. "The virus-resisting cells are produced on a daily basis."

Sponsored by Benitec, the firm developing this approach, a phase I safety study of virus-delivered siRNA is under way at City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, Calif.

Kumar says her team's approach would avoid the pitfall of having a foreign virus integrate into the human genome.

Both approaches hold promise for reaching the so-called "resting" T-cells in which HIV is able to hide from current AIDS therapies. Reaching these HIV reservoirs is the key to eliminating HIV from the body.

"These approaches could be used to purge the latently infected cells," Akkina says.

Kumar agrees.

"The advantage of siRNA is that you can deliver it into resting T cells," she says. "So if these siRNA are present when the cell becomes activated and starts to produce HIV, you have siRNA there ready to combat it."

Kumar and colleagues report their findings in the Aug. 22 issue of the journal Cell. Kumar, an instructor at Harvard Medical School while working in the Shankar lab, is now an assistant professor at Yale University.

1|2

Today on WebMD

HIV Myth Facts
Slideshow
STD Overview
Article
 
smiling mature man
Article
AIDS retrospective slideshow
Slideshow
 

HIV AIDS Screening
Slideshow
man opening condom wrapper
Quiz
 
HIV AIDS Treatment
Feature
Discrimination Stigma
Feature
 

Treatment Side Effects
Feature
grilled chicken and vegetables
Article
 
obese man standing on scale
Article
cold sore
Article
 

WebMD Special Sections