Cells AS effective in eradicating the AIDS virus, even in its tanks

Health 1 January, 2018


Published on 01.01.2018 at 14h01


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As we know, HIV attacks the immune system and particularly T-lymphocytes, white blood cells essential to this system. Until now, drug treatments could hinder the development of the virus in the body, but the latter, after having disappeared from the blood remains hidden in ” reservoirs “.
For the past few years, the researchers focus on the gene therapy to eradicate the virus completely. The objective is, at term, to fully unlock the immune system of the virus by destroying the quiescent cells that harbor the HIV and serve as a reservoir for reinfection of the body as soon as we stop the antiviral treatment.
According to a study, published in the journal PLOS Pathogens, blood stem cells CAR-T, obtained thanks to a genetic modification, could fight the cells of the immune system, the T lymphocytes, infected with the aids virus, these famous tanks, and provide immunity for at least 2 years.

Cells CAR-T, what is it ?

English ” Chimeric Antigen Receptor “, cell, AS-T are typically T lymphocytes genetically modified. A T lymphocyte is a white blood cell produced by the thymus. It plays an important role in the immune system because it helps protect the cells of the microbes and infections. If there’s a microbe, the T-lymphocytes congregate with other types of white blood cells to eliminate it.
The origin of the art CAR-T (chimeric antigen receptor), these T lymphocytes are genetically modified to carry a gene to express at their surface a chimeric receptor to an antigen is cancer-specific to recognize cancer cells and kill them. Cells CAR-T are a time of hope, particularly in various cancers of the blood (leukaemia, lymphoma, myeloma), brain (glioblastoma).
In the case of HIV, the researchers engineered cells layers hematopoietic which carry on their surface chimeric receptors directed against HIV and its particles which are expressed at the surface of infected cells. As it comes to stem cells, these cells SINCE anti-HIV are in the bone marrow and will destroy the immune cells infected by HIV found there.

Encouraging results on the long-term

For the moment, the experiment has succeeded on laboratory animals, but the stem cells AS anti-HIV are rather promising in the eradication of cells reservoir that is infected with the aids virus.
In addition to having destroyed marrow cells infected with HIV, the stem cells AS anti-HIV have survived 2 years in the bone marrow and have continued to multiply to produce cells AS directed against the HIV in the two years that followed.
The researchers see it as a means to create, in addition, a long-term immunity against the virus. However, this gene therapy occurs only after the set has been in remission for antiretroviral therapy that will likely be pursued some time, but may be interrupted.

According to the authors of the study, such a discovery could radically change the treatment strategy.