Researchers Use Exosome-Based Strategy to Block HIV in Mice; NIH-Funded Study Finds Reduced Levels of HIV in Bone Marrow, Spleen, and Brain After Therapy

In a new study supported by the NIH, researchers used exosomes (images, top & bottom), tiny nanoparticles released by cells and capable of being taken up by other cells, to deliver novel protein into the cells of mice infected with HIV. The protein attached to HIVs’ genetic material and prevented it from replicating, resulting in reduced levels of HIV in the bone marrow, spleen, and brain. The study, funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and published online on September 20, 2021 in Nature Communications, paves the way for the development of novel delivery systems for suppressing HIV. The open-access article is titled “Exosome-Mediated Stable Epigenetic Repression of HIV-1.” “These results demonstrate the potential of exosome engineering for delivering epigenetics-based therapeutics capable of silencing HIV gene expression into brain tissues--an area where HIV has traditionally been able to hide from HIV treatments,” said Jeymohan Joseph, PhD, Chief of the HIV Neuropathogenesis, Genetics, and Therapeutics Branch within the NIMH’s Division of AIDS Research, who was not involved in the research.
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