Expert review of anti-infective therapy 2017 07 14() 1-12 doi 10.1080/14787210.2017.1353911
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to date remains one of the most notorious viruses mankind has ever faced. Despite enormous investments in HIV research for more than 30 years an effective cure for HIV has been elusive. Areas covered: Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) suppresses active viral replication, but is not able to eliminate the virus completely due to stable integration of HIV inside the host genome of infected cells and the establishment of a latent reservoir, that is insensitive to cART. Nevertheless, this latent HIV reservoir is fully capable to refuel viral replication when treatment is stopped, creating a major obstacle towards a cure for HIV. Several gene therapy approaches ranging from the generation of HIV resistant CD4 + T cells to the eradication of HIV infected cells by immune cell engineering are currently under pre-clinical and clinical investigation and may present a promising road to a cure. In this review, we focus on the status and the prospects of gene therapy strategies to cure/eradicate HIV. Expert commentary: Recent advances in gene therapy for oncology and infectious diseases indicate that gene therapy may be a feasible and very potent cure strategy, and therefore a potential game changer in the search for an effective HIV cure.