Kamel Khalili, a neurovirologist at Temple, who led the team. It used a gene editing method that acts like scissors on HIV in cells. (Courtesy of The Philadelphia Tribune)
Kamel Khalili, a neurovirologist at Temple, who led the team. It used a gene editing method that acts like scissors on HIV in cells. (Courtesy of The Philadelphia Tribune)

(The Philadelphia Inquirer) Temple University researchers have used state-of-the-art molecular scissors to cut out dormant HIV hiding in human cells, fueling hopes for curing – not just suppressing – the insidious infection that causes AIDS.

The HIV removal experiment was conducted in cells in the lab, and the scissors did not work on every cell, so the approach is a long way from use in the clinic.

Still, the study, published Monday in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, shows how new genetic editing technologies could be harnessed to conquer the AIDS virus.

“There is no demonstration yet that it has worked in a person, so caution is appropriate,” said Clyde Crumpacker, an AIDS researcher with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. “But it is a very intriguing paper about a possible strategy for an HIV cure. This is a timely ‘proof of concept’ paper.”

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