A clinical trial has started to assess the safety and efficacy of transplanted CD34+ cells in HIV/AIDS patients.
HIV is a virus, that has already caused more than 25 million individuals to succumb. It is a sexually transmitted virus, that targets the immune system cells.
A genetic mutation was found to disrupt the progression of AIDs in HIV patients. Usually, the virus is able to bind to the receptors of immune cells, then infect and damage these cells. However, interestingly, individuals that have a CCR5 mutation show resistance to the r5 HIV virus, as the virus cannot bind to the CCR5 receptors, thereby limiting its access to the target cells.
Similarly, In this clinical trial, the CCR5 gene in CD34+ cells will be disrupted with CRISPR gene editing and then transplanted into HIV patients. The presence of the CD34+ cells with the disrupted CCR5 gene will be assessed with sequencing, and HIV-1 RNA and DNA levels will be assessed to measure the efficacy and safety of this treatment option.
This exciting clinical trial is based in China and has been estimated to be completed by May 2021.