Researchers edit HIV genes out of immune cells

Kamel Khalili

Kamel Khalili, a lead researcher in the study.

Temple University researchers have successfully edited HIV cells out of a patient’s infected immune cells, according to study results published in Nature Scientific Reports.

The researchers used the gene editing tool known as CRISPR/Cas9 to clear out the entire HIV-1 genome from a patient’s infected immune cells in a petri dish, they said.

“Not only did this remove the viral DNA, it did so permanently. What’s more, because this microscopic genetic system remained within the cell, it staved off further infections when particles of HIV-1 tried to sneak their way back in from unedited cells,” according to Gizmodo.

While the virus was not removed, the “technique successfully lowered the viral load in the patient’s extracted cells.”

“[These findings] demonstrate the effectiveness of our gene editing system in eliminating HIV from the DNA of CD4 T-cells and, by introducing mutations into the viral genome, permanently inactivating its replication,” Temple geneticist Kamel Khalili said in a statement. “Further, they show that the system can protect cells from re-infection and that the technology is safe for the cells, with no toxic effects.”

—  James Russell

Defining Homes: Need an intervention?

Believe it or not, some gay couples do not have that fabulous design gene in them. And if they are trying to move out of one house and into another, that lack of genetics will bite them in the rear. Do you fall into that category? Well, you may just have an out.

Not only has HGTV’s Real Estate Intervention been revamped with new host Cora Sue Anthony, the show is on the lookout for applicants to be part of their show — or really, in need of their intervention to turn that house around and sell it.

“We are looking for all kinds of homeowners,” publicist Avelino Pombo says. “We love to feature diversity and not only would we want to feature same-sex couples, but any other family that represents America. Whether it’s a family of six, a blended family or even a “modern family.” We want to see it all on the show.”

Although the show has collected all the submissions for this new season, Pombo urges couples to apply. After reviewing the applicants, the network will offer the top four in Dallas a much-needed design step in.

“We’ll definitely return to Dallas for another season because the city gets lots of real estate exposure,” Pombo says. “With the new talent, newer edge and more design, Dallas is a prime place for the show.”

Whether all you need is a decluttering or a paint job, or something major like a stunning bathroom or a brighter kitchen, Anthony and the rest of the Real Estate Intervention crew can help out. You may not even want to move after they are done.

And LGBT families and couples will have to come out of that design closet if they aren’t matching the throw pillows to the flecks of matching color in the curtains. Oh how the gays pride themselves on one a spectacularly designed home.

Right? “Well, same-sex couples seem to infuse that,” Pombo says.

— Rich Lopez

For more information, visit HGTV.com/on-tv/be-on-HGTV

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 4, 2011.

—  John Wright