In a project spearheaded by investigators at UC San Francisco, scientists have devised a new strategy to precisely modify human T cells using the genome-editing system known as CRISPR/Cas9. Because these immune-system cells play important roles in a wide range of diseases, from diabetes to AIDS to cancer, the achievement provides a versatile new tool for research on T cell function, as well as a path toward CRISPR/Cas9-based therapies for many serious health problems.
Using their novel approach, the scientists were able to disable a protein on the T-cell surface called CXCR4, which can be exploited by HIV when the virus infects T cells and causes AIDS.
Generation of knock-in primary human T cells using Cas9 ribonucleoproteins. PNAS (2015) | DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1512503112