Scientists used mice to test the cells that target one of the two 'gateway' molecules that the HIV uses to enter human cells. Researchers modified blood stem cells to make them resistant to HIV and then transplanted them into the mice, enabling the rodents to control the infection.
Researchers used enzymes to knock out the chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) gene in human blood stem cells, and then transplanted the modified stem cells into mice. The cells developed into mature cells of the human immune system, including the T cells that HIV infects. And when they infected the mice with HIV, the animals were able to maintain normal levels of the human T cells and suppress HIV.
"If the approach can be applied to humans, it could enable a long term generation of HIV-resistant cells in the body, providing the potential for the patient"s cells to suppress HIV," said Meghan Lewit, spokeswoman for the team of researchers.