HSCI co-director David Scadden is part of a multi-institutional, cross-disciplinary team that has been awarded a $14.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The team is using gene and cell therapy approaches to develop a potential cure for HIV.
The researchers will combine gene editing against HIV with technologies for safer and more effective blood stem cell transplants. Such transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants, are currently used for severe blood cancers. They renew a patient’s immune system, which can be damaged by cancer therapies, by infusing healthy donor blood stem cells that can grow into any type of blood or immune cell.
The researchers’ goal is to develop a therapy that prepares patients for a stem cell transplantation using their own cells with little to no toxicity, engineers their own stem cells to fight HIV, and stimulates those cells to quickly produce new and engineered immune cells once they’re reintroduced into the patient.
Magenta Therapeutics, a biotechnology company co-founded by Scadden, is a collaborator on the project. The project’s co-directors are Paula Cannon of the Keck School of Medicine of USC, and Hans-Peter Kiem of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Read more about the research in a press release from the Keck School of Medicine of USC.