RICHMOND, Calif., Sept. 10, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Sangamo BioSciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: SGMO) announced that data from its Phase 1 clinical programs to develop SB-728-T, a novel therapeutic approach designed to generate a "functional cure" for HIV/AIDS, were presented at the 52 nd Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC). The meeting is being held in San Francisco from September 9-12, 2012.
"The immunologic data presented at ICAAC have predictive implications for the success of this exciting new therapeutic approach to HIV and the realization of a 'functional cure' for the disease," commented Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, Ph.D., Co-Director & Chief Scientific Officer, the Vaccine & Gene Therapy Institute of Florida (VGTI Florida), whose laboratory carried out the analysis. "SB-728-T treatment results in an unprecedented and durable increase in CD4+ cells. Importantly, our analysis shows that this is primarily due to the expansion of CD4+ T-cell types that are vital for the successful reconstitution of the immune system in HIV-infected individuals - the central and transitional memory cells."
"These data are very important because CD4 T-cells, especially memory T-cells, are precisely the cell type that we would want to protect and expand to enable HIV-infected individuals to control infections, and HIV, without antiretroviral drugs," added Dale Ando, M.D., Sangamo's vice president of therapeutic development and chief medical officer. "Our aim is to provide a protected reservoir of immune memory cells to replenish the cells killed by HIV and to generate an effective immune response against the virus and opportunistic infections. Central and transitional memory T-cells remember previously encountered foreign invaders, such as viruses or bacteria. These cells can survive in the body for the individual's lifetime, and when they re-encounter the same antigen they reactivate, producing a faster and stronger immune response than the previous encounter. SB-728-T seems to both expand the total memory pool, and by CCR5 modification, protect a proportion of that pool from HIV entry, suggesting that SB-728 treatment has the potential to reconstitute and protect an effective and durable immune system in HIV-infected individuals."
SB-728-T is generated by ZFN-mediated modification of the gene encoding the CCR5 receptor in a patient's own T-cells, disrupting the expression of this key co-receptor for HIV entry and rendering the modified cells resistant to HIV infection.