Friday, June 29, 2007

Designer Enzyme Cuts HIV Out of Infected Cells

Scientists have constructed a custom enzyme that reverses the process by which the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) inserts its genetic material into host DNA, suggesting that treatment with similar enzymes could potentially rid infected cells of the virus. In tests on cultured human tissue, the mutated enzyme, Tre recombinase, snipped HIV DNA out of chromosomes.

Curing real infections by this or any other technique, however, would require mastering one of HIV's sneakiest tricks—its ability to hide from the immune system by laying dormant for months or years in host cells.


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