defeatHIV investigator wins prestigious International AIDS Society (IAS) Award:
Dr. Christopher Peterson, staff scientist in the lab of defeatHIV Co-PI Dr. Hans-Peter Kiem at Fred Hutch, was awarded the IAS Young Investigator Award for his recent HIV Cure research.
His abstract was one of over 2,500 competing for this prize, which is to be presented at this year’s annual IAS Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention in Vancouver, Canada. Dr. Peterson’s research has focused on using zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) to interfere with a specific receptor, CCR5, on the membranes of white blood cells. HIV uses CCR5 as a doorway into the cells. Upon receptor inhibition by the ZFNs, the gene-modified cells are naturally resistant to HIV, as the virus no longer has a means to enter and infect the cells.
The success of Dr. Peterson’s research is a promising advancement for defeatHIV, which modeled this approach after the case of Timothy Ray Brown (aka the Berlin Patient). Mr. Brown was cured of HIV by an allogenic bone marrow transplant from a donor whose cells expressed a mutation in the same receptor specifically targeted by Dr. Peterson and colleagues using ZFNs. Significant hurdles must be overcome before this approach can be applied clinically, however Dr. Peterson’s research is a crucial step forward in our mission to eradicate HIV. Read more about Dr. Peterson, his research, and the award HERE.