Are we on the path to a single treatment for AIDS? – ScienceDaily

A new study from Tel Aviv University offers a new and unique treatment for AIDS that can become a vaccine or a temporary treatment for patients with HIV. The study looked at the engineering of type B white blood cells in the patient’s body to release antibodies to HIV in response to the virus. The study was led by Dr. Adi Barzel and PhD student Alessio Nehmad, both from the School of Neurobiology, Biochemistry and Biophysics of the George S. Wise Faculty of Life Sciences and the Dotan Center for Advanced Therapies Sourasky Medical Center. (Itxilov). The study was conducted in conjunction with additional researchers from Israel and the United States. The research was published in the journal Nature.

Over the past two decades, the lives of many AIDS patients have improved as a result of treatments that change the disease from fatal to chronic. However, we still have a long way to go to find a treatment that will provide a definitive cure for patients. One possible way to do this, with a temporary injection, was first developed in Dr. Barzel’s laboratory. The techniques he developed in his lab use genetically engineered B-type white blood cells that would be genetically engineered inside the patient’s body to secrete neutralizing antibodies against the HIV virus that causes the disease.

B cells are a type of white blood cell that is responsible for producing antibodies against viruses, bacteria, and others. B cells are formed in the bone marrow. When they mature, B cells move to the blood and lymphatic system and from there to different parts of the body.

Dr. Barzel explains: “So far, we have only been a few scientists, and we, among others, have been able to engineer B cells out of the body, and in this research we were the first to do that in the body and create those cells. genetic testing is done with viral carriers derived from viruses to prevent harm, but only to carry the antibody-encoded gene to the B cells in the body, and in this case we have been able to accurately insert antibodies at a desired site in the B cell genome. they had large amounts of the desired antibody in their blood. We produced the antibody from the blood and made sure it was really effective.

The genetic editing was done with a CRISPR. It is a technology based on the immune system of antiviral bacteria. Bacteria use CRISPR systems as a kind of molecular “finder” to find and disable viral sequences. The two biochemists who invented a sophisticated defense mechanism, Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, were able to target the division of any selected DNA. Since then, technology has been used to disable unwanted genes or to repair and insert unwanted genes. Doudna and Charpentier achieved international recognition when they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2020.

PhD student Alessio Nehmad explained the use of CRISPR: “We internalize the potential of a CRISPR with the ability of viral carriers to direct the introduction of genes into desired sites, transferring the desired genes to the desired cells. Thus, we are able. We use two carriers in the family, one carrier encodes the desired antibody and the second carrier encodes the CRISPR system. ».

Currently, researchers say, there is no genetic treatment for AIDS, so research options are wide. Dr. Barzel concludes: “We have developed an innovative treatment that can defeat the virus with a temporary injection, which has the potential to dramatically improve the patient’s condition. In addition, if the virus changes, the B cells will also change accordingly to deal with it, so we created the first medication to defeat the body and the virus in the ‘arms race’.

From this study we hope that in the coming years we will be able to produce an anti-AIDS medication in this way for additional infectious diseases and certain types of cancer caused by a virus, such as uterine cancer, head and neck cancer. and more. “

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Materials provided Tel Aviv University. Note: Content can be edited by style and length.

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