Potential mechanisms for cell-based gene therapy to treat HIV/AIDS

Expert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Elena Herrera-Carrillo, Ben Berkhout

Abstract

An estimated 35 million people are infected with HIV worldwide. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has reduced the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected patients but efficacy requires strict adherence and the treatment is not curative. Most importantly, the emergence of drug-resistant virus strains and drug toxicity can restrict the long-term therapeutic efficacy in some patients. Therefore, novel treatment strategies that permanently control or eliminate the virus and restore the damaged immune system are required. Gene therapy against HIV infection has been the topic of intense investigations for the last two decades because it can theoretically provide such a durable anti-HIV control. In this review we discuss two major gene therapy strategies to combat HIV. One approach aims to kill HIV-infected cells and the other is based on the protection of cells from HIV infection. We discuss the underlying molecular mechanisms for candidate approaches to permanently block HIV infection, including the latest strategies and future therapeutic applications. Hematopoietic stem cell-based gene therapy for HIV/AIDS may eventually become an alternative for standard ART and should ideally provide a functional cure in which the virus is durably c...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Genetic Therapy, Somatic
HIV Infections
Hemopoietic Stem Cell Transplant
Anti-HIV Agents
Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy
Clinical Trials
Drug Resistance
Drug Toxicity
Gene Therapy

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