Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGMO) announced on March 5, 2014 the publication in the March 6, 2014 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine of the first clinical study of Sangamo's proprietary zinc finger nuclease (ZFN)-based genome editing technology in humans. Data from the study, carried out in HIV-positive subjects, demonstrate that the T-cell genome can be safely engineered to mimic a naturally occurring mutation that provides resistance to HIV infection. ZFN-modified T-cells are well tolerated when reinfused and treatment is associated with decreased viral loads (VLs) in several subjects who were taken off their antiretroviral therapy (ART), including one whose viral load became undetectable. The study demonstrates the feasibility of this novel genome editing approach to achieve functional control of HIV. Additional data on the ongoing SB-728-T ongoing clinical trials in HIV will be presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2014), which is taking place in Boston, March 3-6, 2014. "We have used Sangamo's ZFN technology to safely genetically engineer an HIV-infected individual's own T-cells and to make those cells resistant to infection by the virus," said Carl June, M.D., Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and a senior author of the paper. "This study demonstrates that ZFN-modified cells can be safely administered back to the individual; are able to persist and circulate throughout the body to key reservoirs of HIV infection; and show preferential survival over unmodified cells when antiviral drugs are withdrawn, potentially keeping the virus under control without the use of drugs.
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