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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

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Next up for CRISPR: Gene editing for the masses?

Last year, Verve Therapeutics started the first human trial of a CRISPR treatment that could benefit most people—a signal that gene editing may be ready to go mainstream.

CRISPR for high cholesterol: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

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An ALS patient set a record for communicating via a brain implant: 62 words per minute

Brain interfaces could let paralyzed people speak at almost normal speeds.

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Illustration by Rose Wong

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