Researchers at the Aarhus University in Denmark have found a way to use HIV to treat hereditary disorders, HIV infection itself and even make it as a transport like a nanoparticle.
Aarhus University researchers in Denmark developed a unique technique called Hit-And-Run that alters HIV particles to repair human genomes. Modified particles of HIV carry the so-called "scissors" to repair the faulty part of a genome which may be used to treat hereditary diseases.
"Now we can simultaneously cut out the part of the genome that is broken in sick cells, and patch the gap that arises in the genetic information which we have removed from the genome. The new aspect here is that we can bring the scissors and the patch together in the HIV particles in a fashion that no one else has done before," stated the associate professor in genetics, Jacob Giehm Mikkelsen from Aarhus University.
Research team member Dr Yujia Cai also sees the Hit-And-Run technique and "scissors" as usable tools to make the modified HIV particles on destroying infectious HIV particles inside the human body and enable it to transport properties into cells.
HIV as Nanoparticles
Through intensive research on HIV, the researchers have seen the technique to make HIV particles act as transporters of genetic information. Modified HIV particles converted in this technique can become nanoparticles that carry substances to deliver direct effect in cellular level.
Due to the degree and stealthy aspects of HIV infection, researchers have gained interest on using the viruses' own strategy to treat and imply resistances in specific cells such as T-Cells which are vulnerable against HIV.
"By altering relevant cells in the immune system (T cells) we can make them resistant to HIV infection and perhaps even at the same time also equip them with genes that help fight HIV," Dr Yujia Cai stated.
Nanoparticles in nanotechnology are very small objects that can carry and transport properties. It is of great interest to make a bridge between bulk materials and the atomic scale structures.
If used in medicine, nanoparticles can certainly deliver several benefits:
- Transport necessary properties to treat diseases in cellular level.
- Modified genomes to treat hereditary diseases.
- Can be used as tags for biological molecules.
- Can be used for specific target sites within the body.
- May also be used for organelles inside cells.