Can gene therapy be used to fight the AIDS virus?


Scientists are trying to perfect gene therapy to fight HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

The efforts are inspired by a man who was cured of HIV infection a decade ago by a cell transplant from a donor with natural immunity to the virus. Researchers have been trying to get similar results using a patient's own blood cells. They alter the cells in the lab, disabling a gene to make them resist HIV infection.

Scientists first tried this eight years ago, but only a few patients were able to go off of HIV medicines. Since then gene therapy techniques have improved, and recently have had success against some cancers, blood diseases, and an inherited form of blindness.

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