Going after HIV-infected cells

A University of Southern California scientist has created a virus that targets HIV-infected cells, making it easier for drugs to destroy them

August 18, 2011 11:43
1 minute read.
Scientists screen embryos.

scientists_521. (photo credit: (Illustrative photo: Bill Davis/Newsday/MCT))


Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief


A University of Southern California scientist is being credited with creating a virus that targets HIV-infected cells, thus allowing drugs to destroy them.

Dr. Pin Wang's lentiviral vector latches onto HIV-infected cells, flagging them with what is called "suicide gene therapy". This allows drugs to later target and destroy the cells.

"If you deplete all of the HIV-infected cells, you can at least partially solve the problem," said Wang, chemical engineering professor with the USC Viterbi School of Engineering.

Like a precision bombing raid, the lentiviral vector approach avoids collateral damage, keeping uninfected cells out of harm's way.

So far, the lentiviral vector has been tested in culture dishes and has resulted in the destruction of about 35 percent of existing HIV cells. The next step is to test the procedure in mice.

Though this is an important step, Wang says this is not a cure for HIV.

"This is an early stage of research, but certainly it is one of the options in that direction.”

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

[illustrative photo]
September 24, 2011
Diabetes may significantly increase risk of dementia