CAR-T may have made its name as the cancer breakthrough of this century, but its roots dig far back to one of humanity’s other terrifying medical nemeses: HIV.

This week, Lengtigen, a biotech company based in Gaithersburg, MD, teamed up with researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York to dust off a blue-sky idea inspired by people who naturally fight off HIV. What if there’s a way to recreate super-powered immune cells in the lab? And what if we could do this using the patient’s own immune cells to prevent rejection?

Described in Science Translational Medicine, the team engineered super-immune T cells that are not only resistant to HIV infection, but that can also efficiently hunt down strains widely different in their genetic makeup, including those that normally escape other treatments. Inspired by cancer CAR-T, the team engineered two artificial “claws” onto natural T…
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