Enzo Biochem, of Farmingdale, NY, just received the green light to start a promising clinical trial at UCSF to investigate their uber cool Stealth Vector® HGTV43™ gene construct for HIV-1. In essence, Enzo’s proprietary Stealth Vector® is carrying anti-HIV-1 antisense RNAs that are aiming against the viral replication genes. HGTV43 is a vector designed to deliver the antisense genes to white blood cells of patients infected with HIV-1. Once delivered, these genes are thought to be incorporated into the DNA of the patients’ blood stem cells and “subsequent production of the anti-HIV-1 antisense RNA is designed to prevent replication of the virus, providing resistance to the virus,” according to the company.
From the press release:
“In the upcoming trial, which is expected to get underway shortly, Enzo’s Stealth Vector® HGTV43™ gene construct will be used to transfer three antisense genes designed to interfere with the growth of HIV-1 into blood stem cells. These cells are expected to replicate and differentiate within the body of the HIV-1 infected individual to produce CD4+ T-cells, the main target of infection by HIV-1. The novel aspect of the current study is to increase the percentage of CD4+ cells that contain the anti-HIV-1 antisense genes with a protocol designed to partially reduce the patient’s blood stem cells before infusion of the engineered cells. The trial is intended to determine whether this procedure will create a supply of HIV-1 resistant CD4+ cells large enough to materially defer the disease progression of these HIV-1 infected individuals into AIDS.”