HIV Cure Research Update: Reprogramming B Cells to Make Better Antibodies Against HIV
Members of the RID-HIV Collaboratory met via Zoom for a presentation by Paula Cannon, Ph.D., on "Reprogramming B cells to make better antibodies against HIV." The RID-HIV Collaboratory brings together leading university scientists from multiple academic institutions.
The quarterly webinar was moderated by Jeff Taylor, Executive Director of HIV + Aging Research Project | PS, based in Palm Springs, California, and is presented here in its entirety.
Presenter Paula Cannon, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Microbiology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC, where she leads a research team that studies viruses, stem cells and gene therapy. She obtained her PhD from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and received postdoctoral training as an HIV scientist at both Oxford and Harvard universities. Although HIV remains the main focus of her work, she also studies highly pathogenic hemorrhagic fever viruses, including Ebola and Lassa fever viruses.
Cannon has a long-standing interest in the development of gene therapy as a clinical approach to treating HIV infection, and her recent work in this area is aimed at disrupting the viral co-receptor, CCR5, using zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs). This approach is being evaluated in human hematopoietic stem cells to address whether such a therapy could result in a "functional cure" for AIDS patients. Cannon’s research is funded by both the National Institutes of Health and the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine.
As reported on the USC website in September 2020, "An HIV research program led by scientists at USC and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle has received a five-year, $14.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. The team is advancing a gene therapy approach to control the virus without the need for daily medicines."
HIV + Aging Research Project | PS seeks “to improve the lives of the large and growing population of long-term HIV and AIDS survivors by studying the impacts of long-term HIV disease and its treatments on the natural aging process.”
For more information, visit www.HARP-PS.org