Marcus Conant, MD, on Investigating Gene Therapy for HIV Suppression


The Chief Medical Officer of Addimmune discussed past and future research with the AGT103-T gene therapy.

“Using gene therapy with a lentivirus, we're actually introducing micro RNAs to block [the intake of HIV into cells] so that the HIV virus will still attach to the CD4 receptor, but the confirmatory protein isn’t there, and the virus can't enter the cell. What that means is that we are producing T-cells which will kill HIV infected cells, but the HIV virus cannot kill those T cells.”

AGT103-T is a gene therapy using miRNA to block 2 HIV-specific genes, the CCR5 receptor and the regulatory TAT protein that facilitates the transcription of viral RNA into mRNA in the host cell. The therapy was originally developed by American Gene Technologies and is now under the purview of its spinout, Addimmune.

CGTLive spoke with Marcus Conant, MD, chief medical officer, Addimmune, who has been caring for patients with HIV since the 1980s, to learn more about AGT103-T and the potential of treating HIV with gene therapy. He discussed results of an early phase 1 trial (NCT04561258) in 7 patients and some promising efficacy signals seen in those participants. Investigatorsobserved no serious adverse events, engraftment and persistence of modified CD4 T cellsin all participants, andmaintained functionality up to 180 days of follow-up.

Conant also shared the design of a second study that Addimmune hopes to initiate next if they are able to secure enough funding to do so. The second study plans to evaluate AGT103-T in 24 patients and to take patients off of antiretroviral therapy sooner than the first study in hopes that a more robust reduction in viral levels will be observed.

The future of HIV care. Website. Addimmune.
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