Potential mechanisms for cell-based gene therapy to treat HIV/AIDS

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


An estimated 35 million people are infected with HIV worldwide. Anti-retroviral therapy (ART) has reduced the morbidity and mortality of HIV-infected patients but efficacy requires strict adherence and the treatment is not curative. Most importantly, the emergence of drug-resistant virus strains and drug toxicity can restrict the long-term therapeutic efficacy in some patients. Therefore, novel treatment strategies that permanently control or eliminate the virus and restore the damaged immune system are required. Gene therapy against HIV infection has been the topic of intense investigations for the last two decades because it can theoretically provide such a durable anti-HIV control. In this review we discuss two major gene therapy strategies to combat HIV. One approach aims to kill HIV-infected cells and the other is based on the protection of cells from HIV infection. We discuss the underlying molecular mechanisms for candidate approaches to permanently block HIV infection, including the latest strategies and future therapeutic applications. Hematopoietic stem cell-based gene therapy for HIV/AIDS may eventually become an alternative for standard ART and should ideally provide a functional cure in which the virus is durably controlled without medication. Recent results from preclinical research and early-stage clinical trials support the feasibility and safety of this novel strategy
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-263
JournalExpert Opinion on Therapeutic Targets
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Cite this