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August 22, 2010

Gene therapy: HIV-resistant cells work in mice. Can they help humans? "The question was, could researchers create bone marrow stem cells that — just like the marrow the Berlin patient received — lack the crucial gene, CCR5, that normally lets HIV into the key immune cells it destroys?

In 2006, Gregory asked Cannon if she was interested in testing whether a tool his company developed, called a zinc finger nuclease, could do the trick.

Zinc finger nucleases are genetic scissors, cutting DNA at a specific site — say, in the middle of the CCR5 gene. When the cell glues the gene back together, it usually makes a mistake, resulting in a gene that no longer works."