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October 26, 1994

High-tech Assault on HIV: Gene Therapy

JAMA. 1994;272(16):1235-1236. doi:10.1001/jama.1994.03520160017007

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GENE THERAPY may still be in its infancy, but it is cutting teeth on attempts to ameliorate human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disease.

Indeed, knowledge about the HIV genome seems to have come faster than clinical advances in treating the infection itself, and work with HIV clearly is breaking new ground in the field of gene therapy in ways likely to have impact far beyond the treatment of AIDS.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), Bethesda, Md, is including several gene therapy approaches, along with other innovative cell transfer studies, in the new Strategic Program for Innovative Research on AIDS Treatment (SPIRAT). SPIRAT is "crucial," says NIAID Director Anthony Fauci, MD, because anti-HIV drugs "only partially and temporarily suppress" viral replication and are "hampered by toxicity and drug resistance."

Enthusiasm and Cooperation  There is "great enthusiasm about the potential of gene therapy" for treating HIV disease, says William

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