UCLA Logo Here is an interesting piece of news which apparently provides vital insights into stem cells. A research from UCLA AIDS Institute has supposedly exhibited for the first time that human blood stem cells could be engineered into cells that may aim and destroy HIV-infected cells.

This procedure could probably be utilized against a variety of chronic viral diseases. The research apparently claims that human stem cells could be engineered into the counterpart of a genetic vaccine.

Lead investigator Scott G. Kitchen, assistant professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and a member of the UCLA AIDS Institute, commented, “We have demonstrated in this proof-of-principle study that this type of approach can be used to engineer the human immune system, particularly the T-cell response, to specifically target HIV-infected cells. These studies lay the foundation for further therapeutic development that involves restoring damaged or defective immune responses toward a variety of viruses that cause chronic disease, or even different types of tumors.”

The researchers took CD8 cytotoxic T lymphocytes, the ‘killer’ T cells that could aid in combating infection, from an HIV-infected individual. The scientists then supposedly detected the molecule called T-cell receptor, which apparently directs the T cell in identifying and destroying HIV-infected cells. These cells, while could kill HIV-infected cells, apparently are not present in sufficient amounts to free the body from the virus.

So the researchers duplicated the receptor and hereditarily engineered human blood stem cells. They then positioned the stem cells into human thymus tissue that had been supposedly entrenched in mice, thereby enabling the researchers to investigate the response in a living organism.

The engineered stem cells are believed to have grown into a huge population of mature, multifunctional HIV-specific CD8 cells that could specially aim cells with HIV proteins. It was also discovered that HIV-specific T-cell receptors apparently have to be coordinated to an individual in the same way an organ is corresponded to a transplant patient.

As per co-author Jerome A. Zack, UCLA professor of medicine in the division of hematology and oncology and associate director of the UCLA AIDS Institute, the subsequent stage would be to examine this approach in a more superior model to find out if it could function in the human body. The scientists also hope to extend the variety of viruses against which this tactic could be used.

The research was published in the journal PLoS ONE.