Engineered immune cells elicit broad response to HIV in mice, offering hope for vaccine

engineered immune cells elicit broad response to hiv in mice offering hope for vaccine

Sumary of Engineered immune cells elicit broad response to HIV in mice, offering hope for vaccine:

  • The virus — which continues to infect millions around the world — has proven especially tricky to prevent with conventional antibodies, in part because it evolves so rapidly in the body..
  • Any solution would require coaxing the body into producing a special type of antibody that can act broadly to defeat multiple strains of the virus at once..
  • This week, scientists at Scripps Research moved closer to attaining that holy grail of HIV research with a new vaccine approach that would rely on genetically engineered immune cells from the patient’s body..
  • In experiments involving mice, the approach successfully induced broadly neutralizing antibodies — also called bnabs — that can prevent HIV infection, says principal investigator James Voss, PhD, of Scripps Research..
  • Voss and his team showed in 2019 that it was possible to reprogram the antibody genes of the immune system’s B cells using CRISPR so the cells would produce the same broadly neutralizing HIV antibodies that have been found in rare HIV patients..
  • The new study shows that such engineered B cells, after being reintroduced to the body, can multiply in response to a vaccination — and mature into memory cells and plasma cells that produce high levels of protective antibodies for long periods of time in the body..
  • The team also demonstrated that the engineered genes can be improved to make antibodies that are even more effective against the virus, using a process that normally occurs in B cells that are responding to immunization..
  • He hopes that his vaccine approach may someday prevent new HIV infections and possibly offer a functional cure to those who already have HIV/AIDS…

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