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Scientists were able to clear cells from HIV

29 April 2016, 09:00

Genetics found that cells infected with the immunodeficiency virus can be cleared of "extra" components, in particular from HIV. New technologies allow you to cut out viral genes from immune cells, while the risk of secondary development of the virus is virtually nonexistent.

About the technology that allows you to identify the virus genomes built into the cells, a group of researchers under the leadership of Kamel Khalili said a few years ago. Then the scientist removed to demonstrate the effectiveness of the new system, called CRISPR / Cas9 - the genomes of the virus have a characteristic difference that the system recognizes them in a cell and destroys them. Now experts have again used CRISPR / Cas9 technology to destroy the immunodeficiency virus in cells and have proven that it is possible to remove the virus from the cell, in addition, the technology blocks the re-embedding of HIV into the chromosomes of immune cells.

Scientists have worked with cells that, in most cases, affect the immunodeficiency virus - T-lymphocytes, in the genome of which hundreds of copies of the changed immunodeficiency virus were present, in addition, to better track performance, experts replaced one of the HIV genes with fluorescent protein, which led to the production of luminous molecules after activation of the virus in the cell. The introduction of Cas9 genes did not affect the life of the virus, but the removal of the immunodeficiency virus from the T-lymphocyte genome occurred during the expression of RNA guides. During the research, the scientists found out that initially there were 4 HIV-related inclusions in the cell, but all of them were destroyed with the help of the new system of the Khalil group. The specialists also found out that the continuation of the expression of the Cas9 genes and RNA guides helps prevent the re-introduction of HIV into the cell's DNA.

The researchers themselves noted that their work will help develop new methods of HIV treatment, based on the removal of DNA from the virus from immune cells, and scientists also admit that such a method of treatment will completely eliminate the disease.

Now the immunodeficiency virus remains the main problem in a number of countries, and the treatment to date is based on antiretroviral therapy, which only stops the development of the virus and helps prolong the life of patients for several decades, however, such treatment does not allow the virus to be completely destroyed in the body. The virus of immunodeficiency differs in that it is able to quickly integrate into the genome of human cells, where it "settles" and becomes the cause of relapses. Today, all hopes are placed on genetic engineering, and experts hope that new methods will allow getting rid of HIV forever.

The CRISPR / Cas9 system was developed on the basis of anti-virus protection of cells and is able to recognize "unnecessary" sections of DNA and remove all unnecessary cells from the cell without damaging it.

Now the specialists have conducted only the first stage of the tests and the CRISPR / Cas9 system has proved its effectiveness, the plans of the research group to study the principle of the new system to understand whether it is effective only at the initial stage or at all stages of the disease development.

Last update: 20.05.2018
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Portnov Alexey Alexandrovich

Education: Kiev National Medical University. A.A. Bogomolets, Specialty - "General Medicine"

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