Congratulations to Alexander Marson's lab, which was recently awarded a grant from Gilead Sciences for $1.6 million. It is one of five grants this year that Gilead Sciences has awarded to researchers whose work focuses on HIV and AIDS. The San Francisco Chronicle pubished an article last week featuring the Marson Lab's work:
“The tricky thing about HIV, and one reason it’s so hard to cure, is that it can hide in the DNA of the human cells,” said Joe Hiatt [MSTP IV], a doctoral student of medicine and philosophy in Marson’s lab and a leader in the research initiative. “It becomes DNA and integrates into your DNA.”The problem has perplexed researchers for years. But Marson and Hiatt see potential for using CRISPR to discover which genes control HIV latency. They hope to use the gene-editing tool to create latent HIV cells in test tubes, and then modify the DNA in those cells to see which edits may coax the HIV out of hiding and make it susceptible to drugs. This will be the most challenging and complicated part of the research. If done successfully, it could lead to the development of drugs that target latent HIV — and perhaps cure HIV permanently.