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Could A Cure For HIV Be Just A Few Years Away?

Temple University researchers say clinical trials for a technique that wipes HIV from cells' DNA could begin within three years.

By Ryan Biek | April 3, 2016

Is a cure for HIV and AIDS just a few years away? Researchers at Temple University hope so. They say clinical trials for a technique that wipes away the virus from cells' DNA could begin within three years.

The technique is called CRISPR/Cas9, and it uses a protein that searches for HIV DNA in immune cells. Once it finds the DNA, the protein releases an enzyme that removes the HIV's genetic sequence. 

A CRISPR researcher from Temple's school of medicine told The Telegraph that once treated, immune cells are protected from being reinfected with HIV, and there have been no harmful effects. 

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He also said recent success in the lab should mean his team will be able to eliminate the virus in actual human cases. 

Current treatments can't cure HIV. The drugs can only try to stop the HIV virus from spreading within the body. 

An estimated 1.2 million people live with the HIV infection in the U.S. –– 150,000 of which don't know they're infected. 

This video includes clips from University of California, Berkeley, the International Committee of the Red Cross and images from Getty Images and NIAID / CC BY 2.0.

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