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Clinical Trial Uncovers Potential ‘Functional Cure’ For Hiv/Aids

Posted Oct 04 2011 7:04pm

Data from a clinical trial involving UCLA researchers suggest that a new therapy may potentially serve as a “functional cure” for HIV/AIDS.

The therapy, called SB-728-T, involves the modification of both copies of a patient’s CCR5 gene, which encodes the major co-receptor used by HIV to infect immune system cells.

In the Sangamo BioSciences’ phase 1 trial, SB-728-T was given to HIV patients who were on highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) but were considered to be “non-responders” — that is, their CD4+ T-cell levels, a key measure of immune system health, remained low. The patients’ HAART therapy was interrupted when they received the SB-728-T therapy.

The researchers found a statistically significant relationship between the suppression of HIV viral load and the level of circulating CD4+ T-cells that had undergone the CCR5 gene modification in patients treated with SB-728-T.

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