A Chinese team from Peking University have used gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 on a HIV patient for the first time. They managed to create stem cells resistant to the disease, but weren’t able to cure him.
Beijing (CNN)The 27-year-old patient’s prospects were bleak. In May 2016, he found out he had AIDS. Two weeks later, he was told he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
But doctors offered the Chinese citizen a ray of hope: a bone marrow transplant to treat his cancer and an extra experimental treatment to try to rid his system of HIV, according to a new paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
This involved using the gene editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 to delete a gene known as CCR5 from bone marrow stem cells taken from a donor, before transplanting them into the patient, Peking University scientists said in the study.
“After being edited, the cells — and the blood cells they produce — have the ability to resist HIV infection,” lead scientist Deng Hongkui told CNN Friday.