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Modifield blood cells could resist HIV

Los Angeles -- Primitive blood cells could be modified to be resistant to HIV and transplanted into patients to control HIV infection, a study suggests.

Researchers have known some people with a mutation in a gene called CCR5 have resistance to infection from the most common, CCR5-tropic strains of human immunodeficiency virus and do not develop AIDS, the study published in the journal Nature Biotechnology said.

University of Southern California researchers used enzymes to remove the CCR5 gene from primitive stem blood cells and transplanted them into mice, which then showed resistance to HIV infections, study leader Paula Cannon reported.

Whether the approach can be translated successfully to human patients to enable long-term generation of HIV-resistant T cells and other blood cells will require considerable future research, the study authors say.

Copyright 2010 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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