amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

Gene-Editing Tool Reduces HIV in Infected Mice

FloresDr. Marcella Flores, associate director of research at amfARResearchers at Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh have been able to cut a fraction of HIV out of infected mice using CRISPR gene-editing technology, according to a new study in Molecular Therapy. The study builds upon previous findings by the research team, including one where CRISPR was used to cut HIV out of transgenic mice (genetically modified mice with HIV DNA inserted into their genomes—as opposed to having been infected with HIV).

In this study, researchers reduced HIV RNA (a measure of HIV) in transgenic mice by 60−95%. They were able to achieve a 96% reduction when they used the method in mice with EcoHIV, a mouse equivalent of HIV, during acute infection.

Employing a more widely used humanized BLT (bone marrow, liver, and thymus) mouse model, the researchers found that CRISPR was able to cut a fraction of HIV out of latently infected cells in some organs.

“It’s a good step forward,” said Dr. Marcella Flores, amfAR’s associate director of research. “It would be important to repeat the studies in monkeys and ensure that CRISPR is able to excise HIV from reservoir cells.”

Read more about the study here: