Genetic therapy for HIV effective in patients for over a decade
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A new study has proven the long-term success of treating HIV patients with genetically modified T cells. Patients who received infusions of their own T cells, which had been genetically modified in the laboratory using a retroviral vector and encoded a chimeric antigen receptor that directs the modified T cell to kill HIV-infected cells it encounters, were found to be healthy up to 11 years after initial therapy. "We have 43 patients and they are all healthy," senior author Carl June, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Penn Medicine, said. "And out of those, 41 patients show long term persistence of the modified T cells in their bodies. Patients now have to take medicine for their whole lives to keep their virus under control, but there are a number of gene therapy approaches that might be curative." The results provide a framework for the use of this type of gene therapy in the treatment of HIV, cancer and a wide variety of other diseases.