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Biotechnology

Genetically Engineered Immune Cells Are Showing Promise in Fighting HIV

January 3, 2018

CAR-T therapy, a treatment that reprograms DNA of immune cells so they attack disease, has been shown to suppress or even eradicate HIV in lab monkeys.

How it works: As Stat explains, the engineered immune cells seek out and bind to the virus and are also themselves immune to HIV infection, allowing them to keep working.

But: The technique, published in PLoS One, was only tested in lab dishes and two animals. It’s also unclear how long the benefits may last. Given that CAR-T therapies have historically been very expensive, it would likely need to be an out-and-out cure to prove successful.

Backstory: We’ve explained how CAR-T shows huge promise in treating cancer, and many firms are already investing heavily in the hope that the technique will find broader application. That hope, this news suggests, may prove to be founded.

Deep Dive

Biotechnology

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

individual aging affects covid outcomes concept
individual aging affects covid outcomes concept

Anti-aging drugs are being tested as a way to treat covid

Drugs that rejuvenate our immune systems and make us biologically younger could help protect us from the disease’s worst effects.

Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station
Workers disinfect the street outside Shijiazhuang Railway Station

Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything

Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.

person carrying styrofoam box used for transporting human organs
person carrying styrofoam box used for transporting human organs

A new storage technique could vastly expand the number of livers available for transplant

It allows donor livers to be held for days—significantly longer than the standard now–and even treated if they are damaged.

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Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

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