09/19/2011 05:01 pm ET Updated Nov 19, 2011

HIV Gene Therapy Shown To Reduce Disease That Causes AIDS

Researchers like what they've seen so far from a new HIV gene therapy treatment.

From Reuters:

An early stage trial of Sangamo BioSciences Inc's HIV treatment found that the gene therapy reduced levels of the virus and even eliminated it in one patient with a naturally occurring gene mutation.

Reuters notes that the trial only consisted of 10 patients, but if the treatment is shown to be safe and effective in further tests, it could eliminate the need for antiretroviral drugs now used to fight HIV.

Last year a Berlin man made headlines when he was cured of HIV after receiving a blood transfusion. Science Now notes that the blood donor had a mutated version of a receptor the virus uses to enter cells. The latest research builds on this discovery by employing gene therapy that uses the same strategy for thwarting HIV.

Science Now writes that researchers don't expect the new treatment to completely eliminate HIV. They hope it can contain the virus "to such a powerful extent that people no longer need antiretrovirals."

Bloomberg reports the most common side effect cited in the gene therapy study was a persistent smell of garlic.