Conference on Cell and Gene Therapy for HIV Cure 2014



August 26-27, 2014

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA USA

We are pleased to announce the inaugural Conference on Cell & Gene Therapy for HIV Cure will be held August 26-27, 2014, in Seattle, WA. This meeting is designed to foster scientific collegiality and to continue to build the important scientific collaborations and community relationships that are critical to solving one of the greatest puzzles of global health in human history.

Featured speakers include:

Francoise Barre-Sinoussi, PhD
Professor, Institut Pasteur, Paris, France
Research Director at the INSERM, France
2008 Nobel Prize Laureate, Medicine

Lawrence Corey, MD
President and Director
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Lawrence Corey Endowed Chair in Medical Virology
Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Allergy and Infectious Diseases
University of Washington

J. Keith Joung, MD, PhD
Associate Chief of Pathology for Research
The Jim and Ann Orr MGH Research Scholar
Director, Moleculary Pathology Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
Associate Professor of Pathology
Harvard Medical School

This two-day international conference will be held at the campus of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. The audience will consist of national and international scientific researchers, early investigators, post docs, and graduate students. Registration Scholarships and Travel Grants are available.

Please visit our conference website for more details!

defeatHIV CAB Meetings

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2015 defeatHIV CAB Meeting Location map


Cal Anderson House
400 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98112

RSVP TO: 206-667-5810 or





The defeatHIV Community Advisory Board (CAB) invites you to join us for our standing monthly meetings on the 1st Tuesday of each month.

Regular agenda items include reviewing HIV cure news and scientific reports, developing HIV cure educational materials for community engagement, reviewing and advising on defeatHIV clinical trial protocols, and planning for upcoming events.

Please RSVP and join us!

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defeatHIV CAB: Meeting March 2014

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defeatHIV CAB Meeting

Tuesday March 4, 2014  |  5:30-7:30 PM

Cal Anderson House

400 Broadway
Seattle, WA 98112

RSVP TO:  206-667-5810 or

The defeatHIV Community Advisory Board (CAB) invites you to join us on Tuesday, March 4th at our next monthly CAB meeting.

Agenda items include planning for our upcoming event, A Community Q&A on HIV Cure with Bob Siliciano, and building our CAB governance/work plan, among others. 

Please RSVP and join us!

Publication Spotlight: Genetically modified hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for HIV-1-infected patients: can we achieve a cure?

The cure of a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1-infected patient following allogeneic transplantation from a CCR5-null donor and potential cure of two patients transplanted with CCR5 wild-type hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) have provided renewed optimism that a potential alternative to conventional antiretroviral therapy (ART) is forthcoming. While allogeneic grafts have thus far suggested complete eradication of viral reservoirs, it has yet to be observed following autologous HSC transplantation. Development of curative autologous transplantation strategies would significantly increase the number of treatable patients, eliminating the need for matched donors and reducing the risks of adverse events. Recent studies suggest gene therapy may provide a mechanism for developing curative therapies. Expression of cellular/artificial restriction factors or disruption of CCR5 has been shown to limit viral replication and provide protection of genetically modified cells. However, significant obstacles remain with regards to the depletion of established viral reservoirs in an autologous transplantation setting devoid of the “allo-effect”. Here, we discuss results from early-stage clinical trials and recent findings in animal models of gene modified HSC transplantation. Finally, we propose innovative combination therapies that may aid in the reduction and/or elimination of viral reservoirs in HIV-1-infected patients and promote the artificial development of a natural controller phenotype.

defeatHIV Events: The Word on an HIV Cure

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Tuesday, January 14, 2104
7 to 8:30 PM

MIller Community Center
330 19th Avenue East
(intersection of Thomas and 19th Ave)
Seattle, WA 98112

FOR MORE INFO: 206-667-5810

Facebook Event Page:  THE WORD ON AN HIV CURE in Seattle

The defeatHIV Community Advisory Board (CAB) invites you to join us on Tuesday, January 14th at our next community event; “THE WORD ON AN HIV CURE.”

This evening will be a great way to meet defeatHIV, the scientists & the community members who have come together to support the research into an HIV cure conducted in Seattle at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

The event is free, no registration required.  We will have free food and some entertainment to start us of on a good foot.

The two men who lead defeatHIV, Drs. Hans-Peter Kiem and Keith Jerome, will be on hand to reveal their current research and answer your questions on how they plan to create HIV-resistant cells and to ‘snip’ HIV DNA from its hiding places throughout the body.

This research attempts to build on the unique case of Timothy Ray Brown, the first person to be cured of HIV, but to make his HIV cure accessible to many more people using some nontraditional methods.

In addition, we will begin a community conversation around HIV cure research and the necessary roles that only community members could fulfill, which promises to be a discussion you will want to listen to, if not add your own voice to the mix.

What is there for me to talk about in HIV cure research
Some—and by no means all– of the questions we will want to hear your thoughts on during our discussion:

  • How much risk is too much? Some studies offer no chance for direct medical benefit (proof of concept). Others have higher risks.
  • Where do we draw the line in terms of too much risk?
  • How do we accurately speak about cure? Basic concepts are difficult to describe in plain language
  • What does ‘cured’ mean to you, and how can we know it? Proving someone is “cured” could be quite difficult – need for very long follow-up
  • What role does altruism play in deciding to join a cure research study? Some studies must be done in very healthy HIV-positive people
  • Should we even use the word ‘cure’? Recruitment must be ethical and must not overemphasize benefits (even inadvertently). Use the “c”word carefully.
  • At what cost?  A cure could be quite expensive
  • Will anyone be left out? What can we do to ensure this isn’t a future reality? A cure might only work for some people
  • How do we begin to dismantle the media hype or years of myths and false beliefs around a cure for HIV?
  • What effect does hearing about HIV cure research have on decisions around preventing HIV infection?
  • Outside of clinical trials, how else might I get involved?

If we are ever to see a cure for HIV achieved in our lifetimes, we will need every one of us to play a part.

As a group of people from various communities around Seattle, we have gathered to support this local work towards a cure. We are convinced that community voices as educators and advocates are needed now at the start of this journey to ensure that whatever cure may come is accessible to everyone.

Please join us on this journey.

We look forward to seeing you on January 14th.

Publication Spotlight: Combinatorial anti-HIV gene therapy: using a multipronged approach to reach beyond HAART

The ‘Berlin Patient’, who maintains suppressed levels of HIV viremia in the absence of antiretroviral therapy, continues to be a standard bearer in HIV eradication research. However, the unique circumstances surrounding his functional cure are not applicable to most HIV(+) patients. To achieve a functional or sterilizing cure in a greater number of infected individuals worldwide, combinatorial treatments, targeting multiple stages of the viral life cycle, will be essential. Several anti-HIV gene therapy approaches have been explored recently, including disruption of the C-C chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) and CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) coreceptor loci in CD4(+) T cells and CD34(+) hematopoietic stem cells. However, less is known about the efficacy of these strategies in patients and more relevant HIV model systems such as non-human primates (NHPs). Combinatorial approaches, including genetic disruption of integrated provirus, functional enhancement of endogenous restriction factors and/or the use of pharmacological adjuvants, could amplify the anti-HIV effects of CCR5/CXCR4 gene disruption. Importantly, delivering gene disruption molecules to genetic sites of interest will likely require optimization on a cell type-by-cell type basis. In this review, we highlight the most promising gene therapy approaches to combat HIV infection, methods to deliver these therapies to hematopoietic cells and emphasize the need to target viral replication pre- and post-entry to mount a suitably robust defense against spreading infection.

Publication Spotlight: Predictors of hepatitis B cure using gene therapy to deliver DNA cleavage enzymes: a mathematical modeling approach

Most chronic viral infections are managed with small molecule therapies that inhibit replication but are not curative because non-replicating viral forms can persist despite decades of suppressive treatment. There are therefore numerous strategies in development to eradicate all non-replicating viruses from the body. We are currently engineering DNA cleavage enzymes that specifically target hepatitis B virus covalently closed circular DNA (HBV cccDNA), the episomal form of the virus that persists despite potent antiviral therapies. DNA cleavage enzymes, including homing endonucleases or meganucleases, zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), TAL effector nucleases (TALENs), and CRISPR-associated system 9 (Cas9) proteins, can disrupt specific regions of viral DNA. Because DNA repair is error prone, the virus can be neutralized after repeated cleavage events when a target sequence becomes mutated. DNA cleavage enzymes will be delivered as genes within viral vectors that enter hepatocytes. Here we develop mathematical models that describe the delivery and intracellular activity of DNA cleavage enzymes. Model simulations predict that high vector to target cell ratio, limited removal of delivery vectors by humoral immunity, and avid binding between enzyme and its DNA target will promote the highest level of cccDNA disruption. Development of de novo resistance to cleavage enzymes may occur if DNA cleavage and error prone repair does not render the viral episome replication incompetent: our model predicts that concurrent delivery of multiple enzymes which target different vital cccDNA regions, or sequential delivery of different enzymes, are both potentially useful strategies for avoiding multi-enzyme resistance. The underlying dynamics of cccDNA persistence are unlikely to impact the probability of cure provided that antiviral therapy is given concurrently during eradication trials. We conclude by describing experiments that can be used to validate the model, which will in turn provide vital information for dose selection for potential curative trials in animals and ultimately humans.

From One To Many

The Cure Agenda for HIV/AIDS at Fred HutchFrom One to Many

In Collaboration with defeatHIV

Scientific Forum

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 | 11am–4pm
“HIV Cure Research in Seattle – the Underlying Science and Clinical Studies”
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA

Community Event

Wednesday, June 19, 2013 | 6pm–8:30pm
Timothy Brown Panel Discussion Moderated by Margaret Larson of Seattle’s King 5 News
Seattle University, Seattle, WA

Timothy Ray Brown (“The Berlin Patient”) is thought to be the only individual functionally cured of HIV. Through a combination of chemotherapy followed by transplantation of HIV-resistant hematopoietic cells, his clinicians provided an important proof of concept that the latent reservoirs of HIV can be eradicated using nontraditional methods. Now six years after his transplant, Timothy remains free of both his cancer and readily detectable HIV. On behalf of the HIV-affected community, he currently serves as an advocate for HIV cure efforts performed by researchers and clinicians across the globe.

Scientific Forum

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA
Tuesday June 18, 2013
11am-4pm PDT / 2pm-7pm EDT / 6pm-11pm GMT
View live video stream:

Timothy will be visiting the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle on June 18 to highlight the work of the defeatHIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory, which is working on an HIV cure therapy that closely mirrors Timothy’s unique and successful treatment. As a highlight of Timothy’s visit, defeatHIV will host a scientific meeting at the Fred Hutch to present the current state of defeatHIV’s cure efforts – “HIV Cure Research in Seattle – the Underlying Science and Clinical Studies.”

The HIV Cure Forum will present scientific data from defeatHIV researchers and industry partners on the collaboratory’s progress to date, specifically how progress in the lab is being translated into clinical studies. Timothy will speak about his personal experience as the first person to be functionally cured, as well as other HIV investigators actively involved in HIV cure efforts.

Questions? Send inquiries to

Community Event

Seattle University, Seattle, WA
Wednesday June 19, 2013
6pm-7pm PDT Social Hour
7-8:30pm PDT Moderated Panel Discussion and Open Q&A
Attend in person – the event is free and open to the public, no RSVP required!

Margaret Larson of Seattle’s King 5 news will moderate a panel discussion with Timothy Ray Brown, Fred Hutch defeatHIV researchers Drs. Keith Jerome, Hans-Peter Kiem, and Michele Andrasik. Julie McElrath, director of Fred Hutch’s Vaccine and Infectious Disease Division, will kick off the discussion with a brief introduction.

Whether you are a provider referring patients, a participant volunteering for a study, or a member of the community interested in learning about/getting involved with our research into a cure—please join us to better understand how each of us might help to make one man’s HIV cure a reality for the millions of people living with HIV!

Questions? | 206-667-4241 |

Social Media

  • Follow @HutchinsonCtr for a live Twitter stream
  • Contribute to the discussion on Twitter at #defeatHIV
  • Join the Facebook event for June 19th

Facilities provided by:
Seattle University

In collaboration with defeatHIV institutions:
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
University of Washington
Seattle Children’s Research Institute
Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope
Sangamo BioSciences
National Institutes of Health

Both events Sponsored by:
CFAR Curative Therapies for HIV Scientific Working Group
UW/FHCRC CFAR Community Action Board
Sangamo BioSciences

2012 POZ 100 Recognizes defeatHIV Investigators

2012 POZ 100 magazine cover

POZ, December 2012, The POZ 100

The influential HIV advocacy magazine POZ has released its 2012 POZ 100 list, which it devoted to individuals who are “Accelerating the end of AIDS”, and all three Martin Delaney Collaboratories are represented – defeatHIV, CARE and DARE.  Read below for their recognition of our defeatHIV investigators.

While there is still much work to be done in our pursuit of a cure, we are making progress and are excited about the re-energized focus on HIV cure efforts.  We thank POZ and the NIAID/NIH, through their Martin Delaney Collaboratory funding, for continuing to support our vital research.

From POZ

“From scientists and researchers making groundbreaking discoveries to the advocates and politicians on the front lines of the epidemic, this year’s list recognizes people who have made a significant contribution to speeding up the end of AIDS.  Through their efforts, the cure might be closer than you think.”

Keith Jerome, MD, PhD and Hans-Peter Kiem, MD

“Both of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Jerome and Kiem are developing proteins known as endonucleases to target HIV.  They’re also collaborating with Sangamo BioSciences to further study the use of gene therapies to render the immune system resistant to the virus.”

Tae-Wook Chun, PhD

“A scientist at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Chun and his colleagues were among the first to find HIV reservoirs, those long-lived, HIV-infected CD4 cells impervious to ARVs. That was in 1997; since then, he’s been heavily involved in researching was to eradicate them.”

Jim Mullins, PhD

“The professor of microbiology, medicine and laboratory medicine at the University of Washington is working to find an HIV vaccine.  He leads one of the two labs that did genetic analysis of the virus in the RV144 vaccine trial in Thailand, which showed some protection against HIV.”

Ann Woolfrey, MD

“A pediatric oncologist at Seattle Children’s Hospital, she specializes in bone-marrow transplants. She’s the lead investigator for many clinical trials of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, including a trial of a mechanism similar to one that cured Timothy Brown of HIV.”

Excerpts from POZ issue #184, published December 2012: The POZ 100 – Accelerating the End of AIDS