Noah Pitcher is a U.S. and global politics writer at Today News Africa who specializes in covering the White House. A full-time undergraduate student at California Polytechnic State University of San Luis Obispo, Noah is studying Political Science with a concentration in global politics. Noah’s background and experience include working on congressional campaigns, with elected members of the American government, and as part of numerous research teams.
American Gene Technologies, a biotechnology company based in Maryland, has taken a monumental step toward progress in finding a cure for HIV. The company announced that the first participant of the Phase 1 clinical trial was infused with its cell and gene therapy product, AGT103-T, on May 19.
“This is a huge milestone for the company. There’s still a lot of work to do, but this is an inflection point in the history of our attempt on HIV,” said AGT CEO Jeff Galvin.
The United Nations estimates that there were approximately 38 million people around the world living with HIV in 2019. Roughly 67 percent or 25.8 million of these cases were in Africa, where there is an epidemic. About 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.
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“No side effects. No complications and even more, the patient was smiling and happy and the same, our team was very excited to have this experience,” said Dr. Jose Bordon, who infused the first patient in Washington D.C.
This is the first in-human study for AGT103-T which is a genetically modified cell product made from a person’s own cells. The process consists of removing HIV T-cells, modifying them, and putting them back in with slight changes that make them impermeable to HIV. The company’s innovative process focuses on repairing the major immune system damage caused by HIV.
“This project represents a major step forward in the potency of an approach that has significant theoretical and empirical momentum within the HIV cure scientific community,” said Galvin.
As millions of people around the globe suffer from HIV and AIDs, innovative medical research and development projects such as this one offer hope for improved treatment and a better future where the HIV/AIDs epidemic can be put under control.