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Monday, March 28, 2016

These 'Molecular Scissors' get rid of HIV from the human cells forever

Scientists successfully edit the HIV genetic material permanently for the first time. This success into a new beginning in the effort to cure the patients with HIV and AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome).

When infecting humans, HIV inserts its genetic material in the cells that responsible for the immune system called CD4 T cells. The insertion was made HIV constantly multiply. HIV 'eat' CD4 continuously until the amount is very small, then decreased immunity, and comes the symptoms of AIDS.
(Pictured: HIV T cells.) Scientists have removed HIV from human immune cells using a new gene-editing technique. And they've managed to shut down HIV replication permanently. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YiO5k)
Antiretroviral (ARV) drugs are currently circulating effective in preventing HIV replication. However, these drugs can not cure. If people with HIV/AIDS stop taking them, the virus will re-grow.

Intends to seek the healing for people with HIV/AIDS, a team of scientists from Temple University Health System conducted an experiment to edit the HIV virus. They use CRISPR-Cas9, a protein that is able to identify certain sections of genes and eliminate them. And CRISPR-Cas9 often referred to as "molecular scissors".
A new strategy to precisely modify human T cells using the genome-editing system known as CRISPR-Cas9. (Picture from: http://adf.ly/1YiOau)
CRISPR-Cas9 is the most influent and innovative biotechnology today. Molecular scissors that have managed to cure genetic disease called Duchenne muscular dystrophy. CRISPR is actually the DNA sequences extracted from the bacteria. DNA sequence was paired with an enzyme called Cas 9.

Kamel Khalili, who led the experiment using bacteria to target the virus. Bacteria that are required to produce the genetic material that is identical to the targeted virus's genetic material.

Genetic material produced by bacteria together with Cas 9 and then look for HIV's genetic material contained in human cells. And Cas 9 will then be cut off HIV's genetic material.

With its elaborate method, Khalili and the team managed to permanently eliminate HIV from the human CD4 T cells grown in the laboratory. Not only that, CD4 is also protected from reinfection.

"This discovery is important in a variety of levels," Khalili said as quoted by Science Alert on Tuesday, March 22, 2016. "It demonstrates the effectiveness of our method to eliminate HIV from the DNA and CD4 T cells."

"Furthermore, research has shown that the system can protect the cells from re-infection and the technology is effective for cells, without any toxic effects," he said.

Still need more research to this system can be applied to completely cure people with HIV/AIDS. However, this success is a good first step. *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SCIENCE ALERT]
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