Israeli researchers may have found a cure for HIV

Israeli researchers have developed a new technology that makes it possible to produce white blood cells capable of fighting HIV, the virus responsible for AIDS. Scientists hope this method, which uses the CRISPR genome editing system, can lead to a uniquely effective treatment for HIV and other diseases.

“We have developed an innovative treatment that could defeat the virus with a single injection, with the potential to significantly improve the patient’s condition,” said Dr. Adi Barzel from Tel Aviv University, who led the study together with PhD student Alessio Nehmad.

HIV attacks the white blood cells in the body, which weakens the immune system. There is no cure for this virus, although it is now more of a chronic disease than a death sentence as it once was – provided proper treatments are available.

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Tel Aviv University researchers, along with other Israeli and American scientists, say they genetically engineered B-type white blood cells to secrete antibodies to HIV. This technique has proven itself in animals.

The new treatment involves injecting genetically modified type B white blood cells into a patient’s body, which causes the immune system to secrete antibodies to fight off the HIV virus.

Type B cells, a type of white blood cell, make antibodies that fight off viruses, bacteria, and other invaders. The Israeli team used the CRISPR genome editing system to introduce encoded antibodies into the body’s B cells.

The CRISPR genome editing system is a way to permanently alter DNA to target the root causes of disease. CRISPR is a tool that makes it possible to precisely cut and modify DNA with microscopic “scissors”. The method is used to treat certain genetic disorders and significant efforts are being made to expand its use.

Nehmad explained, “When CRISPR cuts the desired location in the B-cell genome, it directs the delivery of the desired gene – the gene that codes for the antibody to HIV.”

When the modified B cells encounter the virus in the body, the presence of the virus stimulates the B cells and causes them to divide.

“We use the actual cause of the disease to fight it,” said Barzel.

“As a result, we developed the first drug that can develop in the body and defeat rapidly multiplying viruses.”

“We made the antibody from blood and made sure it was actually effective in neutralizing HIV in the lab,” Barzel said. “All of the animals that received the treatment responded and showed high levels of the desired antibody in their blood. »

The researchers hope that this technology will lead to the manufacture of a drug against AIDS and other infectious diseases, including certain types of cancer, in the coming years.

The study was published in the journal on Thursday Nature.

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