Drugs work stunningly well to control HIV—but not in everyone, and not without side effects. That’s why a small cadre of patients known as elite controllers has long fascinated researchers: Their immune system alone naturally suppresses HIV for decades without drugs. Now one team, inspired by success in mice, hopes to endow HIV-infected people with tailormade immune cells that target HIV, in effect creating elite controllers in the clinic.
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Chimeric antigen receptor T cells can both prevent HIV (yellow) from infecting CD4 T cells (blue) and eliminate infected ones.